Articles from North Carolina
An ambiguous voice vote Wednesday sent to the full Senate a measure that would freeze North Carolina's green-energy standard, which has helped make the state a national leader in solar energy. The measure pushed by House Majority Leader Mike Hager and others has cleared the state House.
The group Americans for Prosperity revealed it is operating a social media initiative, including an online petition, and a phone-banking operation aimed at encouraging state lawmakers to repeal a law that mandates the investor-owned utilities to generate 12.5 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021.
North Carolina’s environment secretary has urged a federal agency not to sell wind energy leases within 24 miles of the state’s coast, a limit that advocates say would largely block wind farms. ...“We have voiced consistent concerns and sought similar protections for both offshore wind and offshore oil and gas development.”
The first leases allowing wind turbines offshore of the Carolinas are expected to be let next year although some still worry the massive turbines could harm tourism upon which coastal communities depend.
State lawmakers have largely deregulated other energy production, but ramped up rules for potential wind farms, making it more feasible for wind companies to look to other states.
Prospects for large-scale wind farms off North Carolina’s coast got a lot smaller Monday when the U.S. Department of Interior announced it reduced the areas of the Atlantic Ocean where turbines can be built.
A hearing that begins Monday focuses on how to calculate the “avoided costs” – costs utilities would otherwise pay to generate or buy electricity elsewhere – they are required to pay for green energy.
North Carolina consumers would have saved $4.2 billion since 2007 if mandates on electric power utilities to purchase expensive renewable energy had not driven costs well above the U.S. average, said a nationally recognized energy and environmental policy analyst.
The bottom line here is that we really don’t know everything we need to know about wind turbines. Before we spend millions of dollars putting up turbines, we need to understand what their impact on local residents will be.
“I support these amendments, knowing full well they are contentious to anybody who would be interested in coming here to establish a wind farm, because the citizens of the county have asked for this. This is what they’ve demanded,” said Commissioner Elaine Crittenton.
Newer, tighter restrictions have been put in place for wind energy facilities proposed for in town or its zoning jurisdiction. The council unanimously approved Monday at a special joint meeting of the council and planning board a set of amendments to the town’s tall structures ordinance.
One of the biggest items of discussion Thursday was the inclusion of a property value guarantee, a regulation that would require the developers of a wind energy facility to reimburse neighboring property owners if their property values were negatively impacted by the facility. Such a guarantee exists in the current version of the tall structures ordinance, which was adopted in November 2013, but the town planning board’s recommended amendments include removing the guarantee.
Torch Renewable Energy LLC, the Houston-based alternative energy giant, announced Friday it will abandon plans to develop a hybrid wind and solar facility near Mill Pond outside Newport. “In light of the unlikely prospect of acquiring a variance from the county’s current tall structures ordinance, we have decided not to move forward with the project,” Torch Energy's vice president of development Rocky Ray said in a prepared release.
Military jets will not be able to safely swoop in low for combat training at the Dare County Bombing Range if 30-story wind turbines stand in the way, according to a military report. The Department of Defense seeks to establish a joint land-use study or agreement with eastern North Carolina counties that would limit construction of wind farms.
Commissioners requested the meeting in November to consider amendments to the county’s tall structure ordinance amid public outcry over a proposed wind farm in Newport. The tall structures ordinance, originally drafted by county planning in 2008, was one of the first of its kind in the state and spells out regulations for permits on turbines and cell towers.
Now that a temporary ban on the issuance of permits for wind-energy facilities is in place, the work of Carteret County leaders is just beginning. The Carteret County Board of Commissioners adopted an ordinance that imposes a 60-day moratorium on building permits for wind-energy generation to give the board time to review the county’s regulations for wind turbines and other tall structures.
More than 400 county residents and others came out Thursday to voice their concerns and listen as commissioners voted unanimously to impose a moratorium on the issuance of permits for wind energy facilities.
“There have been a lot of concerns for public health, safety and welfare,” Robinson said. “We’ll hold the public hearing and see what direction the citizens give us.” The moratorium’s purpose would be to give the board an opportunity to review existing ordinances that regulate wind-energy farms.
The board agreed unanimously and set 6 p.m. Jan. 2, 2014, as the date for a public hearing on enacting a 60-day moratorium on the issuance of any permits for wind energy facilities in Carteret County. The purpose of the moratorium is to give the commissioners the opportunity to review and possibly revise existing ordinances in regard to these type facilities.
The Carteret County Board of Commissioners agreed to hold a public hearing to glean public comments about a possible temporary ban up to 60 days on the issuance of any permits for wind-energy facilities in Carteret County. The moratorium’s purpose would be to give the board an opportunity to review — and possibly revise — existing ordinances that regulate wind-energy facilities.