- Three Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have sponsored legislation to stop all new wind power permits while a study is conducted into their potential impacts on military operations.
- The Military Operations Protection Act of 2017 would halt both onshore and offshore wind development, while the state directs "a study of geospatial, temporal and other data to understand the extent and scope of military operations in this state with respect to energy infrastructure.”
- The Coastal Review Online, however, reports Pentagon officials have said there are no issues caused by wind energy installations.
The bill, introduced by Sens. Harry Brown, Louis Pate, and Norman Sanderson, is similar to one introduced last year by Brown as well, according to North American Wind Power.
In a statement, the Republican lawmaker said it is "unfortunate that taxpayer-subsidized incentives to the renewable energy industry are resulting in higher energy costs to North Carolina consumers, but at the end of the day, this bill isn’t about the merits – or lack thereof – in subsidizing wind energy. It is about our responsibility to protect the investment the U.S. military has made in our state and honor our commitment to being the most military-friendly state in the country.”
A moratorium on wind development would impact Avangrid Renewables planned development off Kitty Hawk. Earlier this month the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced the company had won the right to lease 122,405 acres offshore North Carolina with a $9 million bid against competitors Wind Future LLC, Statoil Wind US LLC, and WPD Offshore Alpha LLC.
Avangrid has already done business in North Carolina, where it developed the 208 MW Amazon Wind Farm for the online retailer. And the company has already indicated it is watching the wind-military debate take shape.
In January, Avangrid hinted that the business climate in the state might not be favorable as it worked to bring the Amazon wind farm online. Republican lawmakers lobbied then President-elect Trump to shut down the virtually-complete facility, citing national security concerns.