NC Gov. Roy Cooper facing energy bill decision

(Chris Seward/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Energy legislation on North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk presents him with a decision that could force him to choose between buttressing the state’s bright solar industry and nurturing its nascent wind power business.

Cooper must weigh whether to sign legislation that could make solar power production more competitive and less expensive for Charlotte-based Duke Energy and likely its customers. But the final bill also contained a moratorium on wind energy projects.

Sen. Harry Brown says the pause on any new permits until 2018 will ensure air training performed by the state’s military installations isn’t encroached upon and protect jobs associated with the bases.

Wind energy advocates say the moratorium is unnecessary. Executives for two proposed wind facilities have suggested the projects will halt if the moratorium becomes law.