Hello fellow MNN correspondents and MNN visitors! I am happy to be back after an extremely LONG break from internet service. I apologize for my absence and I am very excited to be back and working on new blogs for you! My first blog back has to do with Governor Bev Perdue and her energy reforms that she has set in place for North Carolina. Governor Perdue met in Raleigh, NC this past Saturday to discuss the climate change policy, national security policy and to discuss her ideas on energy. One of her two meetings Saturday took place in Williamsburg, Virginia. The presentation opened with an Air Force major general who analyzed and discussed the harmful effects on climate change on the overall stability of our environment. The governor went over the basic possible idea of a grid monitoring system run by maximum efficient computers to show climate changes that occur over time.
"Developing our green economy is a cornerstone of my vision for North Carolina's economic future," Gov. Perdue said. "Creating green jobs and businesses is a key part of my JobsNOW initiative, and the energy reforms I am implementing will lay the foundation for North Carolina to lead the nation in green energy." Governor Perdue went on to say that the "state that gets green right will own the next 50 years ... I intend for North Carolina to be that state." These strong words lay the foundation for ultimate green success as she points out what she wants to accomplish. Governor Perdue's energy plan is as follows
1) Relocate the State Energy Office and state weatherization program to the Department of Commerce: The weatherization program will be transferred to the State Energy Office from the Department of Health and Human Services. The State Energy Office will be transferred to the Department of Commerce from the Department of Administration, and will be led by a new energy advisor. Establishing the Department of Commerce as the home for state energy policy will improve coordination across programs to deliver these services more efficiently and effectively.
2) Reinvigorate the Energy Policy Council: The plan reduces the number of council members and improves representation for environmental groups, alternative energy producers and energy services specialists. The council will work with the State Energy Office and the energy advisor to help create a comprehensive energy policy that encompasses renewable energy and energy efficiency and that uses existing energy assets wisely.
3) Establish an Energy Investment Revolving Loan Fund: With $18 million in federal recovery monies, this innovative fund will provide low- and no-interest loans to finance energy-saving projects at businesses, local governments, non-profits, state agencies, community colleges, universities and public schools. The loans will be awarded for up to $1 million. The fund will extend the scope of federal recovery funds and will ensure that these funds continue to support the state's commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency well into the future.
4) Expand the Green Business Fund: $10 million in federal recovery funds will be used to expand the Green Business Fund, which Gov. Perdue led the drive to create in 2007. The fund awards competitive grants to North Carolina businesses and organizations with innovative projects in biofuels, green construction, environmentally friendly technology and renewable energy products.
5) Grow North Carolina's green workforce: Gov. Perdue's JobsNOW initiative will provide green-collar jobs training and retraining in community colleges. As part of JobsNOW, the governor will use nearly $7 million in federal recovery funds to develop a program in universities, community colleges and workforce agencies that will meet the training and workforce needs of the emerging green economy.
6) Invest federal recovery monies for other energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in small businesses, communities and homes across North Carolina: Other investments using federal recovery funds include $12 million to support energy savings and renewable energy initiatives in small businesses and industries, $58 million for energy and efficiency block grants to cities, counties and tribes and $12 million for energy efficiency audits and improvements for new and existing homes, among others.
If you want to discuss Governor Perdue's energy plan and what you think it lacks or does not lack, please comment your thoughts below!