It is becoming a national trend for politicians to “divide and conquer” by attacking the wind industry while supporting other forms of clean energy. This is fracturing the renewable energy community as folks are being forced to take positions that do not support one another. As Director of NCIPL, I pray that we do not take sides and instead continue to support all sources of renewable energy without pitting one against another.
NCIPL is a member of the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA). Below is their statement on HB 589 and a summary of the legislation.
NCSEA’s Statement on the Passage of House Bill 589
NCSEA supported the original version of House Bill 589, which passed the House on June 7, and was the result of an extensive, 9-month-long stakeholder process and negotiations. This legislation would have been a bipartisan compromise that was overall good for consumers, industry and utilities. Unfortunately, the final negotiations that occurred late last night between the House and Senate on HB 589 became tarnished with the inclusion of an unnecessary 18-month moratorium on the permitting of wind projects through December 31, 2018, which was ultimately sold to legislators without any urging from the military. We are very disappointed in this outcome and are determined to take immediate steps to lessen this blow to our growing and diverse clean energy economy – and, by extension, all North Carolina consumers and business investors who would have otherwise certainly benefited from additional wind energy development. NCSEA is working now to ensure all participants in the stakeholder process leading up to this disappointing vote take any and all available action to remedy this reckless adoption of an otherwise strong policy.
Final Bill Summary: House Bill 589
Below is a summary of the final version of HB 589, passed in the early morning hours of June 30, including the wind provision.
- Restarts Duke Energy’s Green Source Rider program, allowing large customers to work directly with renewable energy developers to purchase the type of renewable energy that makes the most sense for their businesses, customers, and employees;
- Legalizes the leasing of renewable energy systems and allows Duke Energy to participate in the leasing market;
- Creates a new rooftop solar rebate program that will offer Duke Energy’s residential and commercial customers rebates for 20 MW of solar per year for five years, for a total of 100 MW – at least tripling the amount of rooftop solar in North Carolina over the next five years.
- Requires Duke Energy to create a modestly-sized 40 MW community solar program;
- Directs a study to understand the values and benefits that energy storage can provide to North Carolina’s grid; and as of last night,
- Imposes an 18-month moratorium on permitting issuance for all wind energy projects, effective January 1, 2017*.
*While still unacceptable, it should be noted that the 18-month wind permitting moratorium is less severe than the 4-year moratorium proposed in the Senate earlier, which sought to ban “consideration of applications for a permit”and “the issuance of permits” for wind energy facilities and wind energy facility expansions. The final, 18-month version still allows preliminary consideration of wind projects, all the way up to the permitting issuance.
Click here to see how your representative voted on this energy legislation.
The Governor has three options right now: to sign the bill, to veto the bill, or to let it become law without his name attached. I have confidence that the Governor and his team of experts will do their best to make the most appropriate decision for the current state of politics in NC.
Prayers for the future of clean energy in our state,