In 2009, the Virginia General Assembly enacted legislation directing DEQ to develop regulations for the construction and operation of renewable energy projects of 100 megawatts and less. DEQ’s regulations must take the form of permits by rule (PBRs). The first permit by rule for wind energy projects was developed in 2009-10 and went into effect on December 22, 2010. The permit by rule for solar projects became effective on July 18, 2012. The proposed combustion permit by rule is undergoing executive review, which will be followed by a public comment period.
In addition to PBRs for wind, solar, and combustion-based resources, the 2009 statute directed DEQ to develop a PBR for water-related resources, that is, falling water, wave motion, tides and geothermal resources, if considered by the department to be necessary and appropriate. After careful consideration of the issues, the Water-Related Regulatory Advisory Panel recommended, and the DEQ director agreed, that it is not necessary or appropriate at this time and under current conditions for DEQ to develop a PBR regulation for projects that generate electricity from falling water, wave motion, tides or geothermal resources. The RAP further recommended that DEQ re-evaluate the potential need for a PBR regulation concerning these water-related resources in 2014, or sooner if circumstances or public requests so indicate. For information regarding the director's decision concerning water-related resources, please see the Water Related Energy page.
DEQ's renewable energy goals:
To promote renewable energy and to protect the Commonwealth's natural resources, as set forth in the 2009 "Small Renewable Energy Projects" legislation.