State environmental regulators issue permit for wind farm in Chowan County

State environmental regulators issue permit for wind farm in Chowan County

March 14th, 2023

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources has issued a permit for Timbermill Wind’s proposal to build and operate a wind energy generating facility in Chowan County.

After considering comments received during the public engagement process, including a public hearing held July 21, 2022, the department has granted approval for up to 45 turbines and associated infrastructure to be built north of Edenton.

Developed by Apex Clean Energy, Timbermill Wind is expected to have up to 45 wind turbines interspersed across timber and agricultural lands, with a capacity of up to 189 megawatts that can produce enough energy to power up to 47,000 homes every year.

This permit is the first for a facility under the a law passed by the General Assembly in 2013 establishing a permitting program for wind energy facilities. The application for permit 21-01 was received on May 19, 2022.

Permit conditions will remain in effect for the life of the project, which includes the construction, operation, and decommissioning of the site.

Violations of the permit and its conditions may result in enforcement actions authorized by law, including but not limited to notices of violation and civil penalties. The permittee is still required to comply with all additional local and federal permitting regulations and obtain any necessary permits.

Construction and operating conditions for the permittee include:

  • Obtaining a written “Determination of No Hazard to Air Navigation” issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. All turbines and meteorological towers must be marked and lit according to FAA guidelines and must be visible on night vision goggles. During construction, all turbines must be lit with temporary equipment when reaching a height of more than 200 feet, until permanent lighting is constructed.
  • Minimizing the clearing of trees and vegetation during construction, within the bounds of sound engineering principles.
  • Minimizing impacts to jurisdictional wetlands and wildlife by complying with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service terms within a Biological Opinion included as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 404 permit.
  • Alerting DEQ within 24 hours of an extraordinary event and complying with an Emergency Response Plan in consultation with emergency responders with jurisdiction over the facility.
  • Providing financial assurance to Chowan County covering decommissioning costs.
  • Reporting energy production data from the facility, including explanations for inactivity.

The final permit, final permit reviews, hearing officer’s report and process to contest the permit decision can be found on the DEQ website. For more information on DEMLR’s Onshore Wind Program, visit the DEQ onshore wind webpage.

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