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North Carolina’s Budget Includes $10 Million for Rural Broadband

The North Carolina budget includes a new $10 million grant program within the Department of Information Technology to expand rural broadband – the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) program. Eligible projects for the grants must be discrete and specific and located in an unserved area of an economically distressed county (tier 1 area under G.S.   143B-473.08). Such projects must seek to provide broadband services to homes, businesses …Read More

UPDATED: Congress Takes Aim at Tax-Exempt Funding for Professional Sports Facilities

UPDATED 12/27/17: The final version of the tax bill signed into law earlier this month did NOT include the provision which sought to eliminate tax-exempt funding assistance for professional sports facilities.   While President Trump’s very public feud with the NFL grabs the headlines these days, the U.S. House inserted a provision in the tax reform bill introduced last week which would eliminate a State or local government’s ability to …Read More

Local Ordinances Play a Major Role in Green Infrastructure

Local governments can do a lot to promote and improve green infrastructure by implementing best practices and fostering emerging technologies. Just look at what Atlanta, Georgia and Raleigh, North Carolina have done through their local ordinances this year. On November 20, 2017, Atlanta City Council unanimously adopted a new infrastructure regulation that requires all new residential and commercial buildings to install electrical infrastructure to support Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers. In …Read More

NC Utilities Commission Proposes Rules for Solar Panel Lessors

Section VI of HB 589, named the “Distributed Resources Access Act,” creates new opportunities in North Carolina for solar energy development in ways other than utility-scale solar farms. It authorizes, for the first time, the leasing of solar energy facilities for retail customers and subscription to shared community solar energy facilities.   N.C.G.S. § 62-126.7 states, “No person shall engage in the leasing of a solar energy facility without having applied …Read More

Power Outages Reignite Debate Over Buried Power Lines

After nearly every major storm event resulting in major power outages, utilities, public officials, and customers reexamine the existing electrical distribution infrastructure. And no exception, the most recent hurricanes, Harvey in Houston, Irma in Florida, and Maria in Puerto Rico, have reignited the debate over buried lines and whether the risks are worth the investment. When Harvey hit Texas, Houston had almost 24,000 circuit miles of underground distribution lines and …Read More