Broad business coalition urges South Carolina Senate to pass energy bill

A large coalition of 65 businesses of all sizes are urging the South Carolina Senate to pass the Energy Freedom Act, which was unanimously approved in the state House last month.

Two letters were issued this week, one from corporate renewable energy users and one from solar companies working in the state. In the corporate letter, the businesses explained that being able to access reliable and affordable electricity, such as renewable energy, is an “essential component of our corporate energy strategies.” In the other letter, solar companies highlighted the massive opportunity for more local jobs and economic investment if this bill passes.

“That such a wide-ranging, diverse group of businesses support this bill is a clear signal that it is an economic winner for South Carolina,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “When businesses are able to lower their energy costs, and solar companies can compete on a level playing field, the benefits spread to local communities — in the form of more jobs, new investments and higher tax revenue. We urge the South Carolina Senate to listen to these South Carolina businesses and pass this bill quickly.”

The Energy Freedom Act would modernize South Carolina’s energy market, providing commercial businesses and residents more choice over how they get their energy. This would help lower consumer electric bills in the state, which are currently some of the highest in the country.

“As a longtime member of the South Carolina business community, we feel smart energy policy is necessary for continued economic development in the State,” said Mark Wesson, president of the Natural Resources Division of Johnson Development Associates, based in Spartanburg, South Carolina. “Being able to meet the clean energy needs of businesses will attract new domestic and international companies to the state.  These companies create new jobs and additional tax revenue that will be beneficial for generations to come. It is time for South Carolina to take the lead on renewable energy and be on the right side of history.”

Urgent Senate action on the Energy Freedom Act is necessary as the Duke Energy Carolinas net metering cap will be hit on Friday, March 15. By passing the Energy Freedom Act, South Carolina lawmakers can both keep solar jobs growing and unlock billions of private investment dollars currently held up by the lack of policy certainty in the state.

The businesses signing the letter include: Bank of South Carolina, The Beach Company, Chuck Garnett (CEO of Synovus South Carolina), EDENS, Inc., Fifth Third Bank, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., Home Depot, Inman Mills, The InterTech Group, Inc., Johnson Development Associates, Marriot International, Metromont Corporation, Milliken and Company, Movement Mortgage, Mungo Homes, Owens Steel, The Post & Courier, Sage Automotive Interiors, Sherman Financial Group, Springs Creative Products, South State Bank, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Target Corporation, United Community Bank, Walmart and William Barnet & Son LLC.

The solar companies signing the separate letter — which include rooftop installers, utility-scale developers, manufacturers — are: ARRES, Inc., Borrego Solar, Clearway, Cypress Creek Renewables, EDF Renewables, EDP Renewables, GRID Alternatives, Hannah Solar Government Services, PetersenDean Roofing and Solar, My Poly Energy, NexTracker, Power Factor, Reach Construction Group, REC Group, Recurrent, RES Group, Shealy Electrical Wholesalers, a division of Border States, Sigora Solar, Strata Solar, Solarize Financial, SolarSmart, Solza Power, Southern Current, sPower, Sunfinity, Sunrun, Sunstore Solar, Summit Solar, Vivint Solar, and Zimmer America.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Thursday, March 14. More detail about the bill is available here.

News item from SEIA

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