The U.S. Military is big business in North Carolina; the second largest, in fact. Our General Assembly is concerned that Wind Farms in the flight paths of training missions from the various military bases in our state might be cause for them to be slated for closure. To that end, legislation, which does not affect existing projects, or those currently under development, has been proposed to severely limit the locations of future projects in the eastern and central regions.
While this may seem to be a reasonable course of action on the surface, like so much current legislation, there is more to this bill (SB843) than meets the eye. In addition to limiting locations where wind farm projects may be built to a relatively small portion of the state, there are proposed restrictions applying to the solar industry as well. Citing "environmental risks", new start-ups would be required to generate no more than 35 decibels of noise (quieter than human speech)and have a 1-1/2 mile "safety barrier" away from neighboring property lines (that's 7,920 feet, compared to 200 feet for hazardous waste landfills, or 500 feet for pig waste lagoons). Curiously, fossil fuel powered hydroelectric plants would be exempt.
As if that were not enough to make new renewable energy less than competitive with traditional energy sources, a surety bond equal to 15% of the value of the facility and land would be required of new start-ups, in spite of the fact that the salvage values of the raw materials would exceed the costs of decommissioning and return of sites to original condition, as required.
When "Fracking" legislation allows for well sites in closer proximity to homes and water sources, at noise levels considerably higher, with no similar guarantees of return to original condition for sites, one might conclude a bit of hypocrisy in this latest assault on renewable energy. Hmmmm?
Apparently this Bill was allowed to die on the Senate floor, as the GA adjourned for their vacation, but may be resurrected in the next session.