July 6, 2017
On June 29, the North Carolina House and Senate voted to enact a compromise version of 2017 H589, titled “Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina.” This major new energy legislation evolves and, in some respects, significantly expands solar business opportunities in North Carolina.
The bill also establishes an 18-month moratorium (through Dec. 31, 2018) on the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issuing permits for new wind energy projects. The state will use that time to evaluate potential impacts of future wind energy development on North Carolina’s major military installations’ operations, training and readiness missions.
The bill represents a compromise among many varied stakeholders and now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper to decide whether to sign it into law.
Key provisions of the bill relating to solar energy include the following:
Parts I and II address transitioning the current utility-scale solar development model, driven by the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, to competitive procurement in the Duke Energy Carolinas LLC (Duke) and Duke Energy Progress LLC (Progress) service territories. Within 120 days of enactment of the bill, Duke and Progress must jointly or individually file with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) a competitive procurement program subject to the following parameters mandated in the legislation:
Part III mandates a “Green-Source” renewable energy procurement program be filed with the NCUC within 180 days of enactment.
Part VI establishes a new “Distributed Resources Access Act,” which creates third-party residential and commercial solar leasing programs and community solar programs, and mandates a review of utility net metering rate designs in North Carolina.
Part VII provides for expedited review of swine/poultry waste generator interconnection requests of 2 MW or less.
Part VIII establishes a rebate program applicable to small residential and commercial solar installations, which is required to be filed within 180 days of enactment.
Part XIII establishes a moratorium through Dec. 31, 2018, on DEQ issuing permits for new wind projects, and commissions a study to evaluate and map out land-, air- and water-based military operations in North Carolina, to avoid encroachment and adverse impacts from future wind energy development on military operations, training and readiness.
Please contact any of the authors to learn more about H589 — “Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina” — and its expected impacts on the renewables market in North Carolina.
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