SEWC’s Statement on the NCGA’s RFP for HB 589

Friday, the North Carolina General Assembly’s Legislative Services Office released its Request for Proposals for a study of the scope of military activities in the state as well as the creation of maps that identify where wind turbines might have an impact on military activities – continuing an unnecessary undertaking that wastes taxpayer dollars to study an issue already thoroughly addressed by the Department of Defense. This study is a result of HB 589, which was originally intended to be compromise legislation between solar developers and North Carolina utilities, but later had an unpopular wind permitting moratorium and military study tacked on by the Senate. The current process, a review by the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse which includes input from every potentially affected military base, has resulted in thousands of windfarms being built across the country without jeopardizing military preparedness. Studies like these only serve to increase uncertainty for developers and threaten over $500 million of private investment in some of North Carolina’s most vulnerable areas. While this study is wholly unnecessary, SEWC will continue to push for transparency throughout the entire process. Studies that could regulate an entire business out of the state should not be conducted behind closed doors. The RFP asks vendors to address items not covered in the original legislation. This overreach raises further concerns that this process will be used to attack wind projects and regulate them out of the state. This RFP also shows that it is critical for state lawmakers to understand that the full force of the Pentagon is behind the current wind energy permitting process for ensuring all military assets come first.