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Gov. Pat McCrory, R-N.C., signed legislation that creates a regulatory framework to site, build and operate wind projects in the state.

The law, Permitting of Wind Energy Facilities (H.B.484), provides language for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to assist wind developers in identifying suitable locations for wind development in North Carolina and the steps that follow in the permitting process.

The law requires developers pursuing wind energy projects to meet a timeline of requirements during the application process. It also establishes a public notification and hearing process to alert nearby citizens, local governments, military installations and others of an applicant’s intentions before an application is filed.

Per the bill, the DENR must issue a permit before a wind project can begin. The law also states that the DENR can deny a permit if there are issues that have adverse impacts to private landowners as well as the environment, natural resources, endangered and threatened species, cultural and recreational sites, or military operations and training.

The law establishes fees to site or expand a wind project and gives the DENR the authority to impose civil penalties if a facility is constructed without a permit or in violation of the permit.

"This law will help unleash our state’s energy resources to power our economy and enable us to harness those resources in a safe, reliable and cost-effective manner," said McCrory. "Our pursuit of energy from biofuels, clean coal, natural gas, solar, nuclear and wind are part of a prosperous energy future in North Carolina. However, we could not have had such comprehensive legislation related to wind energy without strong support from the military, the wind industry, environmental groups and local communities."

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) says North Carolina's new permitting law avoids unnecessary expenses that add to the cost of doing business in the state.

"As an industry in a competitive field, we seek to avoid unnecessary duplication that will add to the cost of doing business in the state," says an AWEA spokesperson. "We thank DENR in advance for its willingness to work with the wind industry on creating a centralized and streamlined process for permitting projects in North Carolina. The wind industry looks forward to efficient implementation of this rule."

To read the legislation, click here.

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