Definitions and Applicability
The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Applicant" means the owner or operator who submits an application to the department for a permit by rule pursuant to this chapter.
"Coastal Avian Protection Zones" or "CAPZ" means the areas designated on the map of "Coastal Avian Protection Zones" generated on the department's Coastal GEMS geospatial data system (9VAC15-40-120 C 1).
"Department" means the Department of Environmental Quality, its director, or the director's designee.
"DCR" means the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
"DGIF" means the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
"Disturbance zone" means the area within the site directly impacted by construction and operation of the wind energy project, and within 100 feet of the boundary of the directly impacted area.
"Ecological core" means an area of nonfragmented forest, marsh, dune, or beach of ecological importance that is at least 100 acres in size and identified in DCR's Natural Landscape Assessment web-based application (9VAC15-40-120 C 2).
"Historic resource" means any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, object, or cultural landscape that is included or meets the criteria necessary for inclusion in the Virginia Landmarks Register pursuant to the authorities of § 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia and in accordance with 17VAC5-30-40 through 17VAC5-30-70.
"Important Bird Areas" means the designation of discrete sites by the National Audubon Society as having local, regional, continental, or global importance for birds because they support significant numbers of one or more high priority avian species (e.g., T&E, SGCN) during the breeding, wintering, or migration seasons.
"Interconnection point" means the point or points where the wind energy project connects to a project substation for transmission to the electrical grid.
"Invasive plant species" means non-native plant species that cause, or are likely to cause, economic or ecological harm or harm to human health as established by Presidential Executive Order 13112 (64 FR 6183, February 3, 1999) and contained on DCR's Invasive Alien Plant Species of Virginia (9VAC15-40-120 B 3).
"Migratory corridors" means major travel routes used by significant numbers of birds during biannual migrations between breeding and wintering grounds.
"Migratory staging areas" means those sites along migratory corridors where significant numbers of birds stop to feed and rest during biannual migrations between breeding and wintering grounds that are essential to successful migration.
"Natural heritage resource" means the habitat of rare, threatened, or endangered plant and animal species, rare or state significant natural communities or geologic sites, and similar features of scientific interest benefiting the welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth.
"Nearshore waters" means all tidal waters within the Commonwealth of Virginia and seaward of the mean low-water shoreline to three nautical miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean.
"Operator" means the person responsible for the overall operation and management of a wind energy project.
"Other avian mitigation factors" means Important Bird Areas, migratory corridors, migratory staging areas, and wintering areas within the Coastal Avian Protection Zones.
"Owner" means the person who owns all or a portion of a wind energy project.
"Permit by rule" means provisions of the regulations stating that a project or activity is deemed to have a permit if it meets the requirements of the provision.
"Person" means any individual, partnership, firm, association, joint venture, public or private corporation, trust, estate, commission, board, public or private institution, utility, cooperative, county, city, town, or other political subdivision of the Commonwealth, any interstate body, or any other legal entity.
"Phase of a project" means one continuous period of construction, startup, and testing activity of the wind energy project. A phase is deemed complete when 90 calendar days have elapsed since the last previous wind turbine has been placed in service, except when a delay has been caused by a significant force majeure event, in which case a phase is deemed complete when 180 calendar days have elapsed since the last previous wind turbine has been placed in service.
"Post-construction" means any time after the last turbine on the wind energy project or phase of that project has been placed in service.
"Pre-construction" means any time prior to commencing land-clearing operations necessary for the installation of energy-generating structures at the small wind energy project.
"Rated capacity" means the maximum capacity of a wind energy project based on the sum total of each turbine's nameplate capacity.
"SGCN" or "species of greatest conservation need" means any vertebrate species so designated by DGIF as Tier 1 or Tier 2 in the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan (9VAC15-40-120 B 6).
"Site" means the area containing a wind energy project that is under common ownership or operating control. Electrical infrastructure and other appurtenant structures up to the interconnection point shall be considered to be within the site.
"Small renewable energy project" means (i) an electrical generation facility with a rated capacity not exceeding 100 megawatts that generates electricity only from sunlight, wind, falling water, wave motion, tides, or geothermal power, or (ii) an electrical generation facility with a rated capacity not exceeding 20 megawatts that generates electricity only from biomass, energy from waste, or municipal solid waste.
"Small wind energy project," "wind energy
project," or "project" means a small renewable energy project
that (i) generates electricity from wind,
whose main purpose is to supply
electricity, consisting of one or more wind turbines and other accessory
structures and buildings, including substations, post-construction
meteorological towers, electrical infrastructure, and other appurtenant
structures and facilities within the boundaries of the site; and (ii) is
designed for, or capable of, operation at a rated capacity equal to or less
than 100 megawatts. Two or more wind energy projects otherwise spatially
separated but under common ownership or operational control, which are
connected to the electrical grid under a single interconnection agreement,
shall be considered a single wind energy project. Nothing in this definition
shall imply that a permit by rule is required for the construction of
meteorological towers to determine the appropriateness of a site for the
development of a wind energy project.
"State-owned submerged lands" means lands that lie seaward of the mean low-water mark in tidal waters or that have an elevation below the ordinary mean high-water elevation in nontidal areas that are considered property of the Commonwealth pursuant to § 28.2-1200 of the Code of Virginia.
"T&E," "state threatened or endangered
species," or "state-listed species" means any wildlife species
designated as a Virginia endangered or threatened species by DGIF pursuant to
§ 29.1-563-570 §§ 29.1-563 through 29.1-570 of the Code of
Virginia and 4VAC15-20-130.
"VLR" means the Virginia Landmarks Register (9VAC15-40-120 B 1).
"VLR-eligible" means those historic resources that meet the criteria necessary for inclusion on the VLR pursuant to 17VAC5-30-40 through 17VAC5-30-70 but are not listed in VLR.
"VLR-listed" means those historic resources that have been listed in the VLR in accordance with the criteria of 17VAC5-30-40 through 17VAC5-30-70.
"VMRC" means the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
"Wildlife" means wild animals; except, however, that T&E insect species shall only be addressed as part of natural heritage resources and shall not be considered T&E wildlife.
"Wintering areas" means those sites where a significant portion of the rangewide population of one or more avian species overwinter annually.
9VAC15-40-20. Authority and applicability.
This regulation is issued under authority of Article 5
(§ 10.1-1197.5 et seq.) of Chapter 11.1 of Title 10.1 of the Code of
Virginia. The regulation contains requirements for wind-powered electric generation
projects consisting of wind turbines and associated facilities with a single
interconnection to the electrical grid that are designed for, or capable of,
operation at a rated capacity equal to or less than 100 megawatts. The
department has determined that a permit by rule is required for small wind
energy projects with a rated capacity greater than
megawatts and this regulation contains the permit by rule provisions for these
projects in Part II (9VAC15-40-30 et seq.) of this chapter. The department has
also determined that a permit by rule is not required for small wind energy
projects with a rated capacity of 5 five megawatts or less and
this regulation contains notification and other provisions for these projects
in Part III (9VAC15-40-130) of this chapter. Projects that meet the criteria
in Part III of this chapter are deemed to be covered by the permit by rule.
A. Purpose. The purpose of this section is to establish schedules and procedures pertaining to the payment and collection of fees from any applicant seeking a new permit by rule or a modification to an existing permit by rule for a small wind energy project.
B. Permit fee payment and deposit. Fees for permit by rule applications or modifications shall be paid by the applicant as follows:
1. Due date. All permit application fees or modification fees are due on submittal day of the application or modification package.
2. Method of payment. Fees shall be paid by check, draft, or postal money order made payable to "Treasurer of Virginia/DEQ" and shall be sent to the Department of Environmental Quality, Receipts Control, P.O. Box 1104, Richmond, VA 23218. When the department is able to accept electronic payments, payments may be submitted electronically.
3. Incomplete payments. All incomplete payments shall be deemed nonpayments.
4. Late payment. No application or modification submittal will be deemed complete until the department receives proper payment.
C. Fee schedules. Each application for a permit by rule and each application for a modification of a permit by rule is a separate action and shall be assessed a separate fee. The amount of the permit application fee is based on the costs associated with the permitting program required by this chapter. The fee schedules are shown in the following table:
Type of Action
Permit by rule application (including first three years of operation)
Permit by rule modification (after first three years of operation)
D. Use of fees. Fees are assessed for the purpose of defraying the department's costs of administering and enforcing the provisions of this chapter including, but not limited to, permit by rule processing, permit by rule modification processing, and inspection and monitoring of small wind energy projects to ensure compliance with this chapter. Fees collected pursuant to this section shall be used for the administrative and enforcement purposes specified in this section and in § 10.1-1197.6 E of the Code of Virginia.
E. Fund. The fees, received by the department in accordance with this chapter, shall be deposited in the Small Renewable Energy Project Fee Fund.
F. Periodic review of fees. Beginning July 1, 2012, and periodically thereafter, the department shall review the schedule of fees established pursuant to this section to ensure that the total fees collected are sufficient to cover 100% of the department's direct costs associated with use of the fees.
9VAC15-40-120. Internet accessible resources.
A. This chapter refers to resources to be used by applicants in gathering information to be submitted to the department. These resources are available through the Internet; therefore, in order to assist the applicants, the uniform resource locator or Internet address is provided for each of the references listed in this section.
B. Internet available resources.
1. The Virginia Landmarks Register, Virginia Department of
Historic Resources, 2801 Kensington Avenue, Richmond, Virginia. Available at
the following Internet address:
2. Professional Qualifications Standards, the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation, as amended and annotated (48 FR 44716-740, September 29, 1983), National Parks Service, Washington, DC. Available at the following Internet address: http://www.nps.gov/history/local-law/arch_stnds_9.htm.
3. Invasive alien plant species of Virginia, Virginia
Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage,
Richmond, Virginia. Available at the following Internet address:
4. The Natural Communities of Virginia, Classification of
Ecological Community Groups,
Second Approximation, Version 2.3, 2010,
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage,
Richmond, VA. Available at the following Internet address: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncintro.shtml
5. Virginia Outdoors Plan,
2007, Virginia Department of
Conservation and Recreation, Richmond, Virginia. Available at the following
Internet address: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/recreational_planning/vop.shtml
6. Virginia's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy,
2005 (referred to as the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan), Virginia Department of
Game and Inland Fisheries, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia.
Available at the following Internet address:
C. Internet applications.
1. Coastal GEMS application, 2010, Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality. Available at the following Internet address:
NOTE: This website is maintained by the department. Assistance
and information may be obtained by contacting Virginia Coastal Zone Management
Program, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 629
Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219, (804) 698-4000.
2. Virginia Natural Landscape Assessment (VaNLA),
2010, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Available at
the following Internet address: for detailed information on ecological cores go
Land maps may be viewed at DCR's Land Conservation Natural Heritage
Data Explorer Geographic Information System (NHDE) website at http://www.vaconservedlands.org/gis.aspx
NOTE: The NHDE website is maintained by DCR. Actual
shapefiles and metadata for publicly-available data on NHDE are
for free of charge by contacting a DCR staff person at
firstname.lastname@example.org or DCR, Division of Natural Heritage, 217
Governor Street 600 East Main Street, 24th Floor, Richmond, Virginia
23219, (804) 786-7951.
3. Virginia Fish and Wildlife Information Service, 2010, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Available at the following Internet address: http://www.vafwis.org/fwis/.
NOTE: This website is maintained by DGIF and is accessible to
the public as "visitors" or to registered subscribers. Registration,
however, is required for access to resource-specific or species-specific
locational data and records. Assistance and information may be obtained by
contacting DGIF, Fish and Wildlife Information Service,
4010 West Broad
Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230 7870 Villa Park Drive, Suite 400,
Henrico, VA 23228, (804) 367-6913.
Notification and Other Provisions for Projects of
Megawatts or Less
9VAC15-40-130. Small wind energy projects of
megawatts or less.
A. The owner or operator of a small wind energy project with a rated capacity equal to or less than 500 kilowatts is not required to submit any notification or certification to the department.
B. The owner or operator of a small wind energy project with a
rated capacity greater than 500 kilowatts and equal to or less than
1. Notify the department
by submitting and submit
a certification by the governing body of the locality or localities wherein the
project will be located that the project complies with all applicable land use
ordinances and applicable local government requirements; and
2. For projects located in part or in whole within zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, or 14 on the Coastal Avian Protection Zones (CAPZ) map, contribute $1,000 per megawatt of rated capacity, or partial megawatt thereof, to a fund designated by the department in support of scientific research investigating the impacts of projects in CAPZ on avian resources.