NC House passes renewable-energy bill

A bill to create a 25 percent tax credit for the construction of facilities used to manufacture renewable energy has cleared the N.C. House. It now heads to the state Senate’s finance committee.
The credit, to be taken against state income or business franchise taxes, applies to the construction of a variety of renewable-energy projects, including biomass, hydro-generation, solar, wind and geothermal heat pumps. There was no immediate assessment of the probable fiscal impact from the credit.
The House action comes as N.C. utilities and environmentalists are asking state regulators to clarify what the term “renewable energy” means.
To that end, the N.C. Utilities Commission will hold a hearing next month that could affect Duke Energy Carolinas plans to convert some coal-fired plants to biomass units. At issue is which fuels qualify as biomass under a 2007 state law that requires utilities to produce some of the power they sell from renewable sources.
The legislation that cleared the N.C. House on Thursday also includes other tax changes, some business-related.
One section would reduce the number of retailers required to make sales-tax prepayments to the N.C. Department of Revenue. Under current law, a retailer who is consistently liable for at least $10,000 per month in state and local sales and use taxes must file a monthly return and pay part of the next month’s tax liability.
The bill would raise the reporting threshold to $20,000 or more monthly.
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