Gov. Roy Cooper has signed an energy bill that includes provisions supporting the solar energy industry. At the same time, the governor signed an executive order designed to blunt the impact of an 18-month wind power moratorium.

Cooper had been weighing a potential veto of the legislation because of the provision targeting wind power.

“A strong renewable energy industry is good for our environment and our economy,” Cooper said in a prepared statement. “This bill is critical for the future of significant increases in our already booming solar industry. I strongly oppose the ugly, last-minute, politically motivated wind moratorium. However, this fragile and hard fought solar deal will be lost if I veto this legislation and that veto is sustained.”

Cooper signed Executive Order 11 immediately after signing House Bill 589. “This executive order directs [the Department of Environmental Quality] to continue recruiting wind energy investments and to move forward with all of the behind-the-scenes work involved with bringing wind energy projects online, including reviewing permits and conducting pre-application review for prospective sites,” Cooper said in his e-mailed press release. “I want wind energy facilities to come online quickly when this moratorium expires so our economy and our environment can continue to benefit.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, had inserted the wind energy moratorium into a bill originally cobbled together by energy-related special interests. Brown noted concerns about the potential negative impact of wind energy facilities on North Carolina’s nearby military bases.

“Regardless of Gov. Cooper’s incorrect assumptions about why I support this bill, I am grateful he signed it, which will ensure North Carolina’s military installations are fully protected while still allowing proposed new wind facilities to move forward on a prudent timeline,” Brown said in his own news release. “It is encouraging the governor did not ignore feedback from military advisers and risk North Carolina’s second-largest industry and the hundreds of thousands of good jobs it supports.”