- The North Carolina Senate this week approved a bill to add siting restrictions for wind farms, including new noise restrictions, requiring a review by the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as giving some oversight to the Department of Military Affairs.
- The measure passed 33-14 on third reading in the Senate, and has now been referred back to a House committee on rules.
- The bill would not impact Amazon's wind farm in development in the eastern portion of the state, but a 150-turbine project being developed by Apex Clean Energy could be affected, according to Triangle Business Journal.
Wind projects in North Carolina could face extra layers of review, including from military officials, if lawmakers are successful in passing a bill now under consideration. House Bill 763 passed the senate on Monday and now heads back to the lower chamber for review by the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations.
If the new rules are approved, wind farms would need to pass a review by the Department of Health and Human Services—which, as reported by North Carolina Health News (NCHN), does not perform a similar review for coal, gas or nuclear plants. The North Carolina Department of Military Affairs would also review projects to ensure no conflicts with low-flying aircraft.
Environmental advocates are critical of the measure.
Sierra Club’s Dustin Chicurel-Bayard told NCHN that the rules are just a way to make development of renewable power more difficult.
“DHHS doesn’t have the ability to recommend rejecting an approval for things like asphalt plants which can create negative air-quality impacts,” he said. “Unfortunately we’ve seen several attacks on the clean energy industry. ... [The measure] would create regulatory burdens and more red tape specifically for the wind industry and no other form of energy production.”
Other provisions of the bill would require a utility-scale wind or solar installation to be built at least a 1.5 miles from any nearby property line, which opponents say could greatly restrict eligible project sites.