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House committee forwards renewables-efficiency bill

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RALEIGH (AP) -- A House committee has approved a bill to require North Carolina utilities to serve their customers with a set amount of renewable fuel and energy efficiency. Environmental groups have protested parts of the measure to help finance construction of new power plants. They say encouraging new coal and nuclear plants defeats the bill's original purpose. Lawmakers who sided with them threatened to remove those sections, but the House Energy and Energy Efficiency Committee voted soundly against an amendment to do just that. The panel approved a section that says utilities could only get a permit to build a new power plant if they prove they can't meet growing demand by using renewable fuel and conservation.

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