The N.C. Senate Finance Committee passed by voice vote today a bill that would effectively end the state’s 6-year-old renewable energy program. Called the Affordable and Reliable Energy Act (SB 365). The bill removes the graduated increases in the amount electric public utilities must invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, holding the investment at 3 percent of North Carolina retail sales and ending the program in 2023. The current law requires increases from 3 to 6 percent in 2014, running to 12.5 percent in 2020. A similar House bill failed in committee last week.