Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Solar Gets Big Boost at Wind's Expense in North Carolina

Energy
Solar Gets Big Boost at Wind's Expense in North Carolina
Ararat Rock Solar farm in Mount Airy, North Carolina. NARENCO

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill into law Thursday that will boost solar production but curb wind energy in the state.

House Bill 589, the result of months of arduous negotiations between utilities and the solar industry, is intended to encourage the continued growth of solar in the state, but it includes a moratorium on new wind projects for the next 18 months.


"I strongly oppose the ugly, last-minute, politically motivated wind moratorium," the governor said in a statement. "However, this fragile and hard-fought solar deal will be lost if I veto this legislation and that veto is sustained."

Cooper also issued an executive order Thursday encouraging the state to help wind projects through initial permit stages during the moratorium.

"We appreciate Governor Cooper's leadership in signing NC H589 today, a measure that will significantly enhance the solar market in North Carolina and continue the growth of solar jobs within the state," Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said in a statement.

"The programs created by this legislation, namely the competitive solicitation process for new utility scale solar and the addition of a rooftop solar leasing program, will help North Carolina retain its position as a top market for solar in the United States," Hopper explained. "Unfortunately, the last-minute inclusion of an 18-month wind moratorium was both unnecessary and disappointing and we hope the governor's executive order can help mitigate that portion of the bill. We stand by our colleagues in the wind industry and hope that legislators will see the positive economic development that both solar and wind offer to rural North Carolina."

For a deeper dive:

News & Observer, WRAL, Bloomberg, Charlotte Business Journal, UtilityDive. Commentary: Winston-Salem Journal, Aubrey Patti op-ed

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

A hiker looking up at a Redwood tree in Redwoods State Park. Rich Wheater / Getty Images
By Douglas Broom
  • Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
  • Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
  • Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
  • Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.

They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A female condor above the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

One environmental downside to wind turbines is their impact on birds.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Kentucky received record-breaking rainfall and flooding this past weekend. Keith Getter / Getty Images

Kentucky is coping with historic flooding after a weekend of record-breaking rainfall, enduring water rescues, evacuations and emergency declarations.

Read More Show Less
The Forest Vixen's CC Photo Stream. Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Spring is coming. And soon, tree swallows will start building nests. But as the climate changes, the birds are nesting earlier in the spring.

Read More Show Less
An Exxon oil refinery is seen at night. Jim Sugar / Getty Images

Citigroup will strive to reach net-zero greenhouse gas pollution across its lending portfolio by 2050 and in its own operations by 2030, the investment group announced Monday.

Read More Show Less