Roy Cooper, wind energy, alternative energy, solar energy, General Assembly, Duke Energy, Harry Brown, military

Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law on Thursday legislation promoting solar energy in the state and issued an executive order encouraging wind-power development despite an 18-month moratorium on wind projects included in the bill.

Cooper said his executive order clarifies that wind projects can proceed through the initial permit stages – and that the state should do all it can to help them along – regardless of the temporary ban.

The bulk of House Bill 589 is an alternative-energy plan painstakingly constructed over months of work by legislators and stakeholders. It became controversial in the final days of the General Assembly’s session this year when a provision banning wind projects for four years was added, and ultimately revised to 18 months.

It was not clear until Thursday whether the wind ban was a deal-breaker for the governor, who said he would confer with experts and interested parties to help make up his mind.

“A strong renewable energy industry is good for our environment and our economy,” Cooper said in a statement his office released Thursday. “This bill is critical for the future of significant increases in our already booming solar industry.

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