RECYCLING AND RESTORATION/RENEWABLE ENERGY.

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
Senate Bill 568 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 3, 2019
AN ACT TO REQUIRE (I) RESPONSIBLE DECOMMISSIONING OF UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR PROJECTS AND WIND ENERGY FACILITIES UPON CESSATION OF ACTIVITIES AND (II) RECYCLING OF ALL END-OF-LIFE PHOTOVOLTAIC 5 MODULES AND ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM BATTERIES LOCATED WITHIN THE STATE, AND PROHIBITING THEIR DISPOSAL IN LANDFILLS.
Intro. by Newton, Rabon, Hise.

Status: Re-ref Com On Finance (Senate action) (Jun 13 2019)
S 568

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Jun 13 2019 - More information

    Senate committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes. 

    Deletes proposed GS 62-352 and instead places that proposed language into new GS 130A-309.240, located in new Part 2J, Management of Solar Energy Equipment, under Article 9 of GS Chapter 130A, and makes the following changes to that language. Requires that decommissioning and reclamation of utility-scale solar projects take place no later than two years (was, one year) following completion of the operation. Adds the requirement that the owner or operator notify the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) within 30 days of cessation of activities for the purpose of completion of the project’s operation; notice must include a description of the steps taken to decommission the project, and for the site reclamation. Makes clarifying changes to the component recycling and reuse requirements to be met when decommissioning a project, including amending the components listed as included in this requirement, including adding energy storage batteries. Adds that when decommissioning a project, an owner or operator must clear, clean, and remove the foundation, and any subsurface cable or other equipment, from the ground to at least three feet below the surface; allows waiving this requirement for property on which soil contamination is present for which the project is not responsible. Adds that the owner or operator must maintain financial assurance until decommissioning of the facility and reclamation of the property has been completed. Provides that if ownership of the project is transferred, the financial assurance established by the project transferor remains in effect until the transferee has established financial assurance acceptable to DEQ. Requires that the rules establishing criteria to set the amount of required financial assurance take into consideration the number and size of PV modules (was, solar panels) included in the solar arrays to be constructed. Adds that DEQ may take into account the salvage value of the project’s equipment when establishing requirements for financial assurance. Adds the requirement that the owner or operator of a utility-scale solar project pay a $3,500 fee to DEQ at the time the owner or operator establishes financial assurance. Makes owners or operators responsible for properly recycling each PV module (was, solar panel) used in the project at the end of the module’s useful life. Allows DEQ to adopt rules to implement the statutes’ recycling requirements. Amends the definitions of terms used in the statute by adding and defining the term end-of-life photovoltaic module, and photovoltaic module or PV module; deletes the term reuse; and amends the term recycle to include processing of PV modules (was, solar modules) to recover a usable product. Makes additional conforming and technical changes.

    Amends GS 143-215.121 to make permit holders, rather than owner or operators, of a wind energy facility responsibility for decommissions of the facility and reclamation of the property and makes conforming changes. Requires that decommissioning and reclamation happen no later than two years (was, one year) following completion of the operation. Adds the requirement that the owner or operator notify the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) within 30 days of cessation of activities for the purpose of completion of the project’s operation; notice must include a description of the steps taken to decommission the project, and for the site reclamation. Makes clarifying changes to the component recycling and reuse requirements to be met when decommissioning a project, including amending the components listed as included in this requirement, including adding energy storage batteries. Adds that when decommissioning a project, the permit holder must clear, clean, and remove the foundation, and any subsurface cable or other equipment, from the ground to at least three feet below the surface; allows waiving this requirement for property on which soil contamination is present for which the project is not responsible. Adds that the permit holder must maintain financial assurance until decommissioning of the facility and reclamation of the property has been completed. Provides that if ownership of the project is transferred, the financial assurance established by the project transferor remains in effect until the transferee has established financial assurance acceptable to DEQ. Adds the requirement that DEQ adopt rules establishing criteria to set the amount of required financial assurance and sets out issues to be considered when setting that amount. Allows DEQ to take into account the savage values of the facility’s equipment when establishing requirements for financial assurance for a wind energy facility. Requires DEQ to adopt rules to establish environmentally sound recovery standard for the purpose to be used when an owner or operator (possibly intends permit holder) conducts and documents due diligence assessments of the recyclers it contracts with. Allows DEQ to adopt rules to implement the statute’s recycling requirements. Deletes the definition of the term reuse.

    Renumbers previously proposed GS 130A-309.240, recycling required for end-of-life solar energy equipment, as GS 130A-309.241, and makes the following changes to the proposed statute. Amends the finding related to heavy metals to provide that solar panel waste can include heavy metals that at certain levels may be classified as hazardous wastes (was, heavy metals are found in solar cells which can harm the natural environment if they are not recycled or disposed of properly). Amends the definition of consumer electronic device by adding mobile telephone to the list of examples. Makes the term photovoltaic module interchangeable with PV module and makes conforming changes throughout the statute. Deletes the definitions of the terms rare earth element and reuse. Deletes the requirement related to the DEQ’s responsibilities for a photovoltaic module stewardship and takeback program. Requires manufactures to register, prepare, and submit (was, prepare and submit) a stewardship plan by the later of December (was, January) 1, 2021, or within 30 days of its first sale of a photovoltaic module in or into the State.  No longer requires the stewardship plan to describe how the program will maximize the recovery of rare earth elements. Requires the stewardship plan to provide for environmentally sound management practices to transport and recycle discarded PV modules (was, discarded computer equipment). Adds that beginning July 1, 2022, no manufacturer may sell or offer for sale a photovoltaic module in or into the State unless the manufacturer has submitted a stewardship plan to DEQ, which has been approved by DEQ. Requires DEQ to establish an initial registration fee, not to exceed $10,000 to be paid by a manufacturer before the manufacture sells or offers for sale photovoltaic modules in the State (was, required an initial registration fee of $2,500); and an annual registration fee, not to exceed $10,000 (was, required an annual renewal registration fee of $2,500). Provides that the Photovoltaic Module Management Funds consists of revenue credited to the Fund from the proceeds of the fee imposed on PV module manufactures (was, fee imposed on computer equipment manufactures). Deletes the proposed annual report requirements. Requires manufacturers or stewardship organizations to report to DEQ annually by October 1 on the total weight of all photovoltaic modules collected for recycling or reuse in the previous fiscal year, and a summary of other actions taken to comply with the statue’s requirements. Requires that the report be posted on a publicly accessible website. Requires that information on permanent recycling programs for photovoltaic modules for which funds are received under the statute be included in the annual report required under GS 130A-309.09A. Adds the requirement that DEQ adopt rules as necessary to implement the statute’s requirements.

    Enacts new GS 130A-309.241 allowing Part 2J to be enforced as provided by Part 2 (Remedies) of Article 1 of GS Chapter 130A.

    Adds new Part 2K, Management of Energy Storage Batteries, to Article 9 of GS Chapter 130A. Enacts new GS 130A-309.250, setting forth legislative findings and definitions concerning recycling for batteries used for energy storage, as defined. Requires manufacturers to register, prepare and submit a stewardship plan to DEQ by December 1, 2021, or within its first 30 days of its first sale of an energy storage system battery in or into the State. Defines manufacturer to mean any person in business or no longer in business but having a successor interest who, irrespective of the selling technique used, including by means of distance or remote sale meets any of the specified criteria concerning the manufacture, assembly, resell, imports, or retail sale of batteries for use in an energy storage system. Details the requirements of manufacturers’ stewardship plans, including providing for how the manufacturer will finance the takeback and recycling or reuse of all energy storage system batteries it manufactures and sells in or into the State, and providing for environmentally sound management practices to transport and recycle discarded energy storage system batteries. Allows a stewardship organization to be designated to act as an agent on behalf of the manufacturer(s) in operating and implementing the stewardship program, subject to notification requirements to DEQ. Allows for manufacturers to periodically amend its stewardship plan, subject to DEQ approval. Provides for DEQ approval or denial of a stewardship plan within six months of receipt. Beginning July 1, 2022, prohibits any manufacturer from selling or offering for sale an energy storage system battery in or into the State without the manufacturer having a DEQ approved stewardship plan. Sets the initial and annual registration fee at $10,000, payable by the manufacturer as specified, with the proceeds credited to the Energy Storage System Battery Management Fund (Fund). Creates the Fund and restricts use of its funds to DEQ’s implementation of the statute. Establishes annual reporting requirements for manufacturers or stewardship organizations to report to DEQ the total weight of all energy storage system batteries collected in the previous fiscal year and a summary of actions taken to comply with the statute’s requirements. Requires the manufacturers or stewardship organizations to post the report on its website. Requires DEQ to include the information in its annual solid waste management report required by GS 130A-309.06, as specified. Provides for enforcement of new Part 2K as provided in Part 2, Article 1 of the Chapter, which sets forth the Chapter’s general remedies provisions. Directs DEQ to adopt rules necessary to implement the statute.

    Amends GS 130A-309.10 to prohibit persons from knowingly disposing of photovoltaic modules and energy storage system batteries, as those terms are defined, in landfills or by incineration in an incinerator for which a permit is required by law.

    Now requires DEQ to adopt permanent rules implementing the act by July 1, 2021 (previously, required the adoption of temporary rules by September 1, 2019). Changes the reporting requirement for DEQ, now requiring DEQ to submit quarterly reports, beginning December 1, 2019, to the Environmental Review Commission and the specified NCGA committee on its rulemaking and costs estimates for implementation of a recycling oversight program (previously, required a report to be submitted by September 1, 2019).

    Provides for applicability of Sections 1(a) and 1(b) of the act (concerning decommissioning of utility-scale solar projects and wind energy facilities upon cessation of activities) to contracts executed on or before the effective date of the act, establishing that the act’s provisions abrogate or impair conflicting contractual provisions. Requires compliance with the act’s provisions to the maximum extent that decommissioning and/or reclamation activities are not in direct conflict with the contract’s terms.

    Changes the effective date provisions. Makes Section 1(a) and 1(b) effective September 1, 2019 (as previously provided). Makes the financial assurance requirements established by GS 130A-309.240(b), as enacted, and GS 143-215.121(b), as amended, effective August 1, 2021 (previously, made the financial assurance requirements effective January 1, 2020). Makes the remainder of the act effective when the act becomes law.

    Makes conforming changes to both titles.


  • Summary date: Apr 4 2019 - More information

    Enacts new GS 62-352 to make the owner or operator of a utility-scale solar project responsible for proper decommissioning of the project upon cessation of activities and reclamation of the property to its condition before the commencement of activities on the site no later than one year following completion of the operations. Defines utility-scale solar project as a ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV), concentrating photovoltaic (CPV), or concentrating solar power (CSP or solar thermal) project capable of generating one megawatt (MW) or more directly connected to the electrical grid for sale to wholesale customers. Requires the following, at a minimum, in decommissioning a project: (1) disconnect the solar project from the power grid and (2) remove all equipment from the solar project and collect and ship it to another project for reuse, or recycle all of the components, or properly dispose of components that will not be reused and can't be recycled. Requires the owner or operator to establish financial assurance in an amount acceptable to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that will ensure that sufficient funds are available for decommissioning of the facility and reclamation of the property to its condition before commencement of activities on the site. Requires DEQ to adopt rules containing criteria for setting the required amount of financial assurance and sets out additional requirements for these rules. The financial assurance requirements become effective January 1, 2020. In addition to requirements for recycling utility-scale solar project components, requires owners or operators to recycle each solar panel at the end of the panel's useful life. Requires conducting and documenting due diligence assessments of the recyclers that the owner or operator contracts with. Requires notifying DEQ within 30 days of cessation of activities, which must include a description of the steps to be taken to decommission the project and reclaim the site. Requires the Utilities Commission to annually provide DEQ with a list of all utility-scale solar projects operating within the state. 

    Amends GS 143-215.121 by adding a requirement that the owner or operator of a wind energy facility be responsible for decommissioning the facility upon cessation of activities and reclamation of the property to its condition before the commencement of activities on the site, no later than one year following completion of the operations. Requires the following, at a minimum, in decommissioning a project: (1) disconnect the facility from the power grid and (2) remove all equipment necessary for the facility's operation and collect and ship it to another project for reuse, or recycle all of the components, or properly dispose of components that will not be reused and can't be recycled. Maintains the financial assurance provisions that are currently in the statute. Also requires recycling equipment necessary for the operation of the facility at the end of the equipment's useful life. Requires conducting and documenting due diligence assessments of the recyclers that the owner or operator contracts with. Requires notifying DEQ within 30 days of cessation of activities, which must include a description of the steps to be taken to decommission the project and reclaim the site.

    Adds new Part 2J, Management of Solar Energy Equipment, in Article 9 of GS Chapter 130A, which provides as follows. Sets out legislative findings concerning solar energy equipment and sets out and defines terms that are used in the new statute. Requires DEQ to develop guidance for a photovoltaic module stewardship and takeback program for manufacturers in preparing and implementing a self-directed program for the takeback and recycling of photovoltaic modules and their components and materials. Requires DEQ to establish a process to develop guidance for photovoltaic module stewardship plans by January 1, 2020, and requires that the process be fully implemented and guidance completed by July 1, 2020. Allows a manufacturer to designate a stewardship organization to act as an agent on its behalf in operating and implementing the stewardship program. Sets out notification requirements applicable to designated organizations. Requires manufacturers to submit a stewardship plan to DEQ by the later of January 1, 2021, or within 30 days of their first sale of a photovoltaic module in or into the state. Sets out five required components of the stewardship plan, including describing how the program will minimize the release of hazardous substances into the environment and maximize the recovery of other components, and provide for takeback of photovoltaic modules at locations within the region of the State in which the photovoltaic modules were used and are as convenient as reasonably practicable. Allows the stewardship plan to be amended periodically; sets out related requirements. Requires DEQ to approve, approve with modifications, or deny a stewardship plan no later than six months after receiving the plan. Allows an annual report to include recommendations to DEQ or the legislature on modifications to the program and requires that the report be posted on the manufacturer's or stewardship organization's public website. Prohibits a manufacturer from selling or offering for sale a photovoltaic module in or into the state unless the manufacturer has an approved stewardship plan, beginning July 1, 2021. Allows DEQ to send out notices of violation and assess penalties of up to $10,000 per sale. Requires manufacturers to pay a $2,500 registration fee valid through the last day of the fiscal year, and sets the renewal registration fee at the same amount. Registration fees are credited to the new Photovoltaic Module Management Fund to be used by DEQ to implement the program. 

    Effective when the act becomes law, requires DEQ to adopt temporary rules implementing the act's requirements by September 1, 2019. Requires DEQ to report to the specified NCGA commissions by September 1, 2019, on the status of the rulemaking and an estimate of money needed in order to implement a program to oversee the act's recycling requirements.

    Includes a severability clause.

    Unless otherwise indicated, effective September 1, 2019.

     


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