House Bill 589 - Competitive Energy Solutions for NC

Energy & Environment

This energy bill bans new wind farms in the state for 18 months along with a number of provisions related to solar energy sales and leasing

Read the full bill text on the NCGA website

Quick overview:

Two major wind farms are threatening to pull out of North Carolina and take their hundreds of millions of dollars of investment with them if the 18 month moratorium on wind added to House Bill 589 becomes law.

HB589 is an energy overhaul bill months in the making with hopes of improving the relationship between utilities and energy providers in the state. It was considered a compromise bill that would pass. The bill advances clean energy, but critics believe that these advances are too modest.

However, a recent provision added to the bill would includes an 18 month moratorium on wind projects, starting retroactively in January 2017 therefore halting the operation of two large-scale wind farms in North Carolina. Before this provision was added, eight environmental and conservative groups indicated support of the bill, varying in their enthusiasm. The retroactive start would jeopardize two large-scale wind farms in North Carolina - the $400 million Amazon Wind Farm, and a wind farm by Apex Energy - both in rural, Northeastern North Carolina.

Several lawmakers have been attempting to kill the wind farm for months claiming that the wind farm interferes with military operations. Given the extent of military in North Carolina, this covers much of the state. North Carolina lawmakers tried to stop wind development in North Carolina by sending a letter to President Trump asking him to halt the projects. The Pentagon responded stating that the wind farms pose no risk to the military, the Associated Press reported.

Wind farm supporters cite the economic benefits that it would bring to rural, Northeastern North Carolina. The Elizabeth city-Pasquotank County Economic Development Commission signed a resolution in January outlining their support for the Amazon wind farm.

The Amazon Wind Farm has already started spinning on the coast, but this bill would force it to shut down.