North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has signed H.B. 589 into law. H.B. 589, otherwise known as the Competitive Energy Solutions Plan, adds the following features to the already robust North Carolina solar industry: competitive bidding process for solar developers, a statewide rooftop solar leasing program, and the Green Source Rider Program, which allows large utility customers to offset their electricity usage with renewable energy.
H.B. 598, however, does not provide such benefits to the North Carolina wind industry, but instead places a moratorium on wind development through the temporary prohibition of wind permit issuance. Citing concerns at military bases, the bill prohibits the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Costal Resources commission to issue a permit for a new wind project or wind project expansion until December 31, 2018. Specifically, the moratorium is meant to allow the General Assembly to consider the impact of wind energy facilities and energy infrastructure on military operations, training, and readiness.
Governor Cooper, opposed to the last-minute moratorium included in the bill, signed an Executive Order in an effort to mitigate the impact of the moratorium on the North Carolina wind industry. The Governor’s Executive Order directs the DEQ to continue recruiting investments, processing wind project applications, reviewing wind permits, and conducting all other behind-the-scenes or preliminary approval steps short of permit issuance—an attempt to ensure various wind permits can be issued as soon as the moratorium is lifted.
Read the full H.B. 589 here.