North Carolina Proposes Wind Farm Ban, Defies Department of Defense

This blog was written by Simon Mahan, former Energy Policy Manager at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | June 27, 2017 | Energy Policy, North Carolina, Wind

The North Carolina legislature is up to their same old dirty tricks trying to hamper renewable energy. After a small faction of anti-clean energy legislators attempted to shut down North Carolina’s first wind farm earlier this year, and lost, it appears they’re back again trying to punish future wind farms.

Ivan Urlaub, executive direct of North Carolina’s Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA), has the scoop:

“NCSEA is very disappointed that the NC Senate added an unnecessary, 4-year wind energy moratorium and other anti-solar provisions to House Bill 589, ‘Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina’. The original version of HB589, which was the result of nearly one year of negotiations and compromise among energy stakeholders and customers, received overwhelming bipartisan support in the NC House three weeks ago. Unfortunately, the wind moratorium and other negative changes, which were rushed through a Senate Committee last night with no debate nor allowing comments from public speakers, would undermine not only this collaborative stakeholder process, but more importantly, our state’s thriving clean energy economy which is benefiting all North Carolinians. NCSEA strongly opposes the Senate’s version of House Bill 589, and we call on all Senators to abandon these reckless and short-sighted changes in favor of passing the bill in its original form.”

Here’s the text for HB589.

North Carolina legislators are proposing wasting potentially thousands of dollars on an unnecessary study to evaluate wind farms and military interactions, a duplicative effort given that the U.S. Department of Defense already evaluates renewable energy projects. “There is an existing Department of Defense (DOD) process to evaluate – and if necessary – block wind farms, that was strengthened in the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA),” according to the American Wind Energy Association. 

The United States Navy announced earlier this year that North Carolina’s first wind farm, the newly constructed Amazon wind farm, poses no risk to their operations. The Amazon wind project worked closely with the DOD, through the already-existing renewable energy clearinghouse. Colonel Mark “Puck” Mykleby, a retired U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot, called North Carolina’s attacks on wind energy “fact free”. He states, “The wind turbines are not going to present an issue when it comes to ROTHR’s operational effectiveness. This is based on the Navy’s operational analysis that occurred after the original MIT study highlighting the core concerns surfaced. If anyone thinks the military doesn’t have the courage to call it like it is – based on facts – they’re living in an alternate universe.”

If you live in North Carolina, or know anyone that does, encourage them to contact their elected officials and speak against this bad bill, here.

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