Climate

North Carolina Lawmakers Double Down on Solar Energy

Audubon North Carolina, the state office of the National Audubon Society, is praising the solar provisions included in HB589 and encouraging lawmakers to provide the same support and market certainty to wind developers in the state.

“This bill shows that solar is a bipartisan winner.  Lawmakers are ready to double down on solar energy given the benefits that it provides to the state – clean air, job creation and lower electricity rates,” says Audubon North Carolina Executive Director Heather Hahn. “Clean energy like solar is good for birds and people.”

Audubon NC has concerns about the 18-month wind energy moratorium included in the bill. “Our experience is that existing state rules already require wind energy projects to be appropriately sited to avoid negative impacts,” Hahn said. “We need to roll out the welcome mat for clean energy companies that want to create jobs in our state, not leave them hanging in limbo.”

Key provisions in HB589 include:

  • Establishes a new competitive marketplace for solar energy in North Carolina that will nearly double the amount of installed, large scale solar energy over the next four years, delivering renewable energy at a significant cost savings to ratepayers.
  • Gives homeowners, businesses and communities new, more affordable options for placing solar panels on rooftops.
  • Requires Duke Energy to provide North Carolina’s universities and military bases with more clean energy options that meet their needs.
  • Establishes an 18-month moratorium on new wind energy projects until a study is completed to avoid conflicts with military flight training routes.

Audubon NC thanks the bill sponsors, Representatives Szoka, Arp, and Watford for their efforts to secure passage of the original, multi-stakeholder bill.  The bipartisan bill was passed by the House and Senate on June 30 and awaits the Governor’s signature.

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