Governor Roy Cooper signed the Competitive Energy Solutions for NC, Session Law 2017-192, on Thursday July 27, 2017. Although the new law contains an 18-month moratorium on the issuance of new permits for wind energy facilities in the state, the governor also simultaneously issued Executive Order No. 11, “Promoting Wind Energy Development” ordering the state to proceed with the review and processing of wind energy permit applications.
The new law is the result of over nine months of negotiations between a diverse group of stakeholders and represents a compromise among all parties.
As detailed in an earlier blog, this new law makes broad changes to PURPA implementation in North Carolina by, among other things, limiting the terms and conditions for renewable energy producers to obtain standard contracts with a utility provider, and creating a new competitive bidding process for larger producers. The utility is also no longer required to purchase renewable energy when capacity is not needed. As part of the compromise, the new law also provides opportunities for residential and business customers to benefit from solar systems through solar rebates and third-party leasing.
Although many renewable energy advocates opposed the moratorium on wind energy development, supporters of the new law focused on its benefits for the solar energy industry, such as in official statements that can be found here and here.