NC Wind Energy Info


This is a collection of general North Carolina laws, studies, documents, agencies, etc. that pertain to industrial wind energy. For information related to a specific NC wind project, select that page from the “NC” menu.

NC Model Wind Law: This was created with the perspective that local legislators have the legal obligation to protect the health, safety and welfare of local citizens, the local economy, and the local environment. Feel free to copy, paste and edit this model as necessary for your community.

Senate Bill 3: 2007 (A renewable energy mandate, or RPS [Renewable Portfolio Standard]. This lobbyist-driven directive forces NC utility companies to use a certain percentage of renewable energy, by certain dates. The net effect is that almost all of this is going to be met with industrial wind energy, and ALL of that wind development will be on or off the NC coast.)

H298: 2013 (A proposed bill to fix the problems with SB-3. It was withdrawn from the legislative floor due to political infighting.)

I wrote both an Economic and Environmental report, showing the benefits of fixing SB-3 (2013).

H332: 2015 (A proposed bill to fix some of the problems with SB-3, by reducing the renewable energy mandate.)

I updated the earlier Economic report to again show the many benefits of fixing SB-3 (2015).

This bill went through several iterations, but failed: H681 —> H760 —> H332. Here is a brief history.

H589: 2017 (This was mostly about solar, but Part XIII includes a two year wind energy moratorium, to give the state time to do a thorough study about wind energy interference with NC military facilities and their operations.)

Statewide Wind Permitting Rules (necessitated by SB-3):

EMC Report: 2009 (A proposed statewide basic permitting process for the wind energy dictated by Senate Bill 3. This proposal did not get passed due to several inadequacies.)

H484: 2013 (The second attempt at a basic statewide permitting process for wind energy. This passed.)

My critique of H484, which identifies its many weaknesses. (Legislators said that the point of H484 was to get something on the books, and that they will upgrade H484. As is, H484 is a weak measure that provides minimally guaranteed protections to citizens, the environment, or the military. A state law of this importance should not be dependent on any agency’s subjective enforcement.)

NC DENR/DEQ is the lead state agency on H484 implementation. Here is their official mission statement.

S843: 2016 (The first attempt at upgrading H484. This did not get enough support to succeed.)

H763: 2016 (Another attempt at upgrading H484. This got a lot of support, but failed at the last minutes due to political infighting.) Here is my commentary on it.

H280: 2013 (A proposed bill to assure that the NC Utility Commission Public Staff was adhering to their statutorial requirement of exclusively representing the best interest of NC citizens, businesses and ratepayers. It was pulled due to politics.)

H433: 2013 (A statewide tall structure ordinance to protect military bases — where wind turbines were excluded. This passed.)

NC Ridge Act: 1983 (This prohibits turbines from being in NC mountains. No such measure protects the NC coast.)

The NC Utilities Commission and the NC Attorney General both say the Ridge Act prohibits industrial wind turbines.

NC Noise Related Statutes and Policies (This has yet to be applied to industrial wind energy.)

NC Utilities Statute: 1967 (Chapter 62 defines the rules that the NC Utilities Commission [NCUC] is supposed to apply when reviewing new energy projects.)

NCUC Docket Information (includes Search function, how to file as an Intervenor, etc.).

The NC Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy is an influential legislative committee that has periodic hearings on energy matters. State energy laws often begin in this Committee.

The NC Energy Policy Council (2014) is a relatively new state organization that is charged with advising on state energy policies. Their website has the videos and transcripts of prior meetings — and several presentations should be of general interest to the public.

See this interesting list of some 75 NC renewable energy subsidies (which is addition to the 35± federal subsidies).

The 2015 NC Energy Report (DENR/DEQ) has some excellent observations.

The NC Military Affairs Commission (NCMAC) (2013) is charged with protecting North Carolina’s substantial commitment to its many military installations. In several cases, NC coastal wind energy development has come in direct conflict with preserving the mission and maintaining the operation of NC military bases. The situation with Seymour-Johnson AFB is just one example.

The NC School of Government is a part of UNC. It’s purpose is to provide local officials their opinion on the legality of proposed legislation (e.g. a new wind ordinance). Ultimately it’s up to local legislators to make the call.

[Note: I am not an attorney, so nothing on this website should be misconstrued as giving legal advice. My counsel has always been, and continues to be, to consult with a competent attorney prior to making any legal decisions.]