Library filed under Energy Policy from North Carolina
Legislators introduced six bills concerning energy last Tuesday, a tenth of all the energy bills proposed so far this year. Most focused on job creation through the energy sector instead of environmental regulation as they had under the Democratic majority.
Now a legislative proposal introduced Wednesday would scrap the 2007 energy law, known as Senate Bill 3. Republican state Rep. George Cleveland's bill calls for the immediate repeal of the bill, which requires power companies to meet 12.5 percent of customer electricity demand through renewables and conservation by 2021.
Lawmakers need to clarify the law, while not completely shutting the door on all wind power in the mountains. Wind turbines, particularly for private homes or small operations, could help reduce the need for coal-fired electric plants down the road. Wind won't replace oil or natural gas anytime soon, but like solar power and other alternative energy sources, we need to explore all avenues.
Legislators declined this summer to clear the way for North Carolina to tap the power of mountain winds. Next year, they could decide whether to allow a single, experimental ridgetop wind farm. Rep. Phil Frye said at a Wednesday wind-energy forum that he plans to propose allowing the state to issue one permit for building rows of wind turbines on a ridge - which he hopes would happen at a site overlooking his hometown of Spruce Pine.
Governor Beverly Perdue, Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight, and Representative Tim Spear hosted the meeting at Cape Hatteras Secondary School. "If water levels are rising as predicted and we take no action, we will have made a terrible mistake for the people who come after us," Basnight said in opening remarks to a crowd of more than 250 people assembled in the school auditorium.
Will wind-generated power save the environment or sacrifice it? The answer depends on who you ask ..."Your senators are very brave in what they're doing," said Lisa Linowes of New Hampshire-based Wind Action. "The legislature already concluded when it adopted the Ridge ordinance that your mountains have cultural significance to the state. When asked now to consider whether that value is worth more - or less - than wind generated electrons on the grid, your mountain senators are doing what most politicians in the U.S. have not done. They're putting a cold eye to the options and deciding wind is not worth the sacrifice, at least for now."
The North Carolina Senate voted overwhelmingly to ban large turbines from the state's ridgelines. The North Carolina State Senate has voted overwhelmingly to ban large wind turbines from the state's scenic western ridgelines. The 42-1 vote on Thursday represents the strongest stand against wind turbines taken by lawmakers in any state.
North Carolina senators have approved banning wind turbines from Appalachian ridges, balancing potential for green energy against unspoiled mountain vistas. The Senate voted 42-1 on Thursday to establish regulations for where wind turbines can be built. It next heads to the state House, where it may not come up until next spring.
Officials have interpreted the state's mountain ridge development law as banning large wind turbines on the ridges. The Senate Agriculture Committee this morning rejected a proposal that would have reversed that ban. Instead, a bill moving through the Senate will continue to call for cementing the ban.
If the nature of this debate sends one clear message, it's that wind power legislation needs to be thoroughly studied, not rushed through. The locus of the debate isn't over wind power itself, but of size, scale and most of all - location. Sen. Steve Goss of Watauga County wants farms permitted on ridge top locations in his area; Sens. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe, John Snow, D-Murphy, and Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, point to the fact that such large structures would run afoul of the mountain ridge law.
State senators are now considering a bill that -- as it's currently written -- would effectively ban any large-scale generation of wind power in the mountains. The bill appeared to be headed for passage in the Senate last week because it had the support of several key Democrats from the mountains. Allowing large wind turbines would "destroy our crown jewel," said Sen. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe. But Sen. Steve Goss, D-Watauga, broke with the other western legislators, saying that the ban goes too far.
The Senate's Finance Committee had approved a version of the bill that included rules for permits to build wind farms in the N.C. mountains on Tuesday. But in floor debate Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Steve Goss, D-Watauga, attempted to amend the bill to allow more wind development in the high country.
State senators came to no conclusion today about whether to keep windmills from lining mountain ridges. ...After Democrats huddled privately, the bill was sent back to the Senate Agriculture Committee for more work.
Local and global environmental worries ran into each other Wednesday on the floor of the state Senate. "It's a competing environmental issue," state Sen. Joe Sam Queen told fellow senators, "developing alternative wind energy and preserving the beauty of the mountains." Senate Democrats from Western North Carolina sparred over whether windmills should be allowed to line ridge tops.
A proposed change to North Carolina's ridge protection law unveiled Tuesday would prevent large-scale wind energy production in the mountains. At the urging of some mountain senators, the state Senate Finance Committee added the restrictions to a bill moving through the General Assembly that will shape where windmills are allowed to be built statewide.
Senate lawmakers this afternoon brought the state a step closer to a total ban on commercial wind development on North Caorlina's mountain tops with an overwhelming vote in the Senate Finance Committee of the General Assembly. Panel members agreed to restrict wind power development to residential uses on towers limited to 100 feet tall. That restriction prohibits commercial wind farms, which link multiple turbines that can exceed 300 feet.
The General Assembly is trying to craft regulations for building electricity-generating wind turbines in North Carolina, and the legislative winds have been blowing hot and cold. ...state senators swayed back and forth on a bill setting the ground rules for getting permits to develop utility-scale wind both in the western mountains and along the coast. It's the mountain ridge-top issue, however, that's at the heart of the controversy.
The prospects for harnessing the winds whipping across a mountain ridge in Mitchell County depend on which way the wind blows in the General Assembly. Some lawmakers want to create a permit process for wind farms in the mountains, while others want to ban such clusters of windmills from ridges. Officials say they are poised to lure a wind-energy company and its green jobs to Spruce Pine if legislators open the door.
The winds are blowing up a storm over the future of wind turbines in the mountains. A rapidly changing bill to permit wind turbines in the mountains was altered by several co-sponsors to now feature a ban on all wind turbines in western North Carolina. The bill is in committee today before going to a Senate vote.
State lawmakers held off voting Tuesday on a proposal to ban wind power development in the mountains of western North Carolina. The delay was met with relief by wind power advocates who harbor dreams of erecting windmills in the Appalachian mountains, home to some of the best wind energy resources in the nation.