Virginia Streamlines Wind Energy Permitting Process

Virginia has adopted a new streamlined permitting process that aims to make it easier to develop wind power projects.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., announced that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has approved the state's first permit regulation for renewable energy projects, following legislation from the 2009 general assembly that changed permitting authority from the state corporation commission to DEQ.

The permit regulation, known as ‘permit by rule’ applies to wind energy projects with a rated capacity that does not exceed 100 MW. For projects more than 500 kV and up to 5 MW, the permit by rule calls for notifying DEQ in addition to other minimal requirements. It places no requirements on projects of 500 kV and less.

For projects exceeding 5 MW, the permit regulation establishes requirements for potential environmental impact analysis, mitigation plans, facility site planning, public participation, permit fees, inter-agency consultations, compliance and enforcement. It addresses proposed projects that are land-based, as well as those located in state waters.

A permit by rule sets out in detail what all applicants must do to gain permit coverage. It specifies uniform, across-the-board standards for all projects.

The standard seeks to balance two statutory goals: to streamline and facilitate development of small renewable energy projects in Virginia and to protect natural resources. This regulation addresses wind energy, and other types of renewable energy projects will be the focus of future regulations.

SOURCE: Office of Gov. Bob McDonnell

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