North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper recently signed HB 589, a consensus stakeholder bill for the solar industry that also included an 18-month moratorium on the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality issuing any permits for a wind-energy facility, a last minute addition from Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown (R-Onslow). In addition to the moratorium, HB 589 also directs an outside consultant to study any impacts wind energy may have on the military and create maps showing those impacts.
“The passage of HB 589 with an 18-month wind moratorium is incredibly disappointing for the state of North Carolina,” said Katharine Kollins, president of the Southeastern Wind Coalition. “This moratorium jeopardizes hundreds of millions of dollars in private investments in some of the most rural communities in the state, which rarely have access to these kinds of projects. The fact that Sen. Brown needed to hijack an unrelated piece of solar legislation that enjoyed broad support from industry and utilities to continue his misguided attack on wind energy shows just how unpopular this policy is. Without further action from the state of North Carolina to support wind energy, this moratorium sends a strong signal to the wind industry that these projects are not welcome in the state.
“As we move forward, we will continue to educate the citizens and elected officials in North Carolina on the effectiveness of the current Department of Defense permitting process, which ensures no wind project that interferes with military operations will ever be constructed. We will also look for North Carolina to take decisive action to demonstrate to the industry that, despite this moratorium, North Carolina is open for business.”
North Carolina currently has one operating wind farm, the 208 MW Amazon Wind Farm U.S East project in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties that was developed by Avangrid Renewables. This project would be unaffected by the moratorium. However, proposed projects by Apex Clean Energy, a 300 MW project in Chowan and Perquimans Counties, and RES America, a 130 MW project in Tyrrell County, would be prohibited from obtaining permits under the moratorium.
Source: Southeastern Wind Coalition
For more information, go to www.sewind.org