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FY 2015 Defense Spending By State report now available for download.

Solar and wind pitted against each other in key energy bill

A fragile truce aimed at overhauling North Carolina's solar market, America's second-largest, is now in jeopardy thanks to a dispute over wind.

Lawmakers in Raleigh inserted an 18-month moratorium on new wind development into an energy bill passed before the close of the legislative session last week. The moratorium was included at the behest of Senate Republicans worried about the towering turbines' impact on North Carolina's military installations.

The move has thrown the bill's future into doubt. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) spoke out in favor of a draft that emerged from the House. Now, it is unclear where the governor will come down. A Cooper spokeswoman said yesterday that the governor was still reviewing the bill. Republicans maintain a supermajority in both chambers and could override a veto, but many aren't taking any chances.

Duke Energy Corp., the state's largest utility, and House Republicans are urging Cooper to approve the measure, saying the benefits to the solar industry would outweigh a short-term setback to the wind industry. The bill would overhaul the contracts granted to small-scale solar developers, ensuring 2.6 gigawatts of new development over the next 3 ½ years. It would also open up the state's residential and commercial solar market by providing homeowners and businesses the ability to lease panels.

"The bill as introduced in the North Carolina House and what passed in the North Carolina House is a bill that we wholeheartedly supported," said Duke spokesman Randy Wheeless.

Read the complete article here.

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