Fighting Attacks on Renewable Energy


Legislative allies of the fossil fuel industry have stepped up their attacks on clean, renewable energy sources in the North Carolina General Assembly. Environmental advocates are fighting back.

Last week, NCLCV’s legislative Hotlist bulletin called out two bills which seek to undercut solar and wind energy development by adding “excessive regulations and costs.” Ironically, these “stabs at North Carolina’s renewable energy industry” come at the same time as the Trump Administration’s effort to loosen restrictions on the truly problematic coal industry. The two bills in question are Senate Bill 377, the effort to stop new coastal wind energy (about which the CIB has reported extensively); and Senate Bill 568, which attempts to place costly and unneeded requirements on commercial-scale solar energy farms.

Hotlist authors and 2019 Duke Stanback interns Rachel Gonsenhauser and Suzanne Mullins report about SB 568, “This bill attempts to create a remedy for a problem that does not actually exist. It puts a two-year time constraint on removal and cleanup following the end of solar farm operations, and requires financial collateral from owners or operators to assure that proper means are available for such actions.”

However, “The Solar Energy Industries Association argues that, while programs to promote responsible clean energy decommissioning are a good idea, proper cleanup, disposal, and recycling of old solar panels is already underway. The only real consequence of [the specific added requirements] would be skyrocketing renewable energy costs, and a sucker punch to our state’s economic and environmental progress.”

The attacks on the future of our clean energy economy must stop. NCLCV is urging legislators to oppose both SB 568 and SB 377.

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