Onshore Wind Energy Program

Turbines from the Desert Wind Farm in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties

DEQ, through the Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources, oversees the permitting of construction, operation and expansion activities for onshore commercial wind energy operations, in accordance with state statute GS143-215.115.

The statute sets out a specific process and timeline for permitting of wind energy facilities, including monitoring, recording-keeping and annual reviews of military presence as described below.

During the process, DEQ is required to consult with interested parties, including the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the commanding military officer or the commanding military officer's designee of any potentially affected major military installation, county and municipal bodies, and any other party that the Department deems relevant.

Under federal law, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management oversees development of commercial wind energy in federal waters, which begins three miles from the coast and seaward. Facilities within three miles of the coast and onshore in North Carolina are regulated by the state. Additional information about Offshore Wind development is available here.

Permitting Information

Permit preapplication process

Permit preapplication process

No fewer than 180 days prior to filing an application for a permit to construct, operate or expand a wind energy facility, a person shall request a preapplication site evaluation meeting to be held between the applicant, the Department and other relevant parties. The preapplication site evaluation meeting shall be held no less than 120 days prior to filing an application for a permit to construct, operate, or expand a wind energy facility.

No fewer than 45 days prior to the date of the permit preapplication site evaluation meeting, the applicant for a wind energy facility or wind energy facility expansion shall submit a pre-application package to the Department. To the extent that any documents contain trade secrets or confidential business information, those portions of the documents shall not be subject to disclosure under the North Carolina Public Records Act.

Preapplication timeline

Preapplication packages should include:

(1) A narrative description of the proposed wind energy facility or proposed wind energy facility expansion, including (i) the approximate number, type, and height of wind turbines to be constructed; (ii) the total planned capacity of the facility; and (iii) a description of any ancillary facilities.

(2) A map showing the approximate location of the proposed wind energy facility or proposed wind energy facility expansion.

(3) A description of any known potential impacts of the proposed wind energy project location on civil air navigation or military air navigation routes, air traffic control areas, military training routes, special-use air space, radar, or other potentially affected military operations. The applicant may use data made available by the Department pursuant to G.S. 143-215.123 to satisfy this requirement.

(4) A description of species of concern, habitats that support species of concern, critical areas of wildlife congregation, and protected lands, as those species, habitats, and critical areas are referenced in the March 23, 2012, United States Fish and Wildlife Service Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines (OMB Control No.1018-0148) that are or believed to be present at the site of the proposed wind energy facility or proposed wind energy facility expansion. The applicant may use data made available by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the Department, or other governmental agency to satisfy this requirement.

(5) A list of the federal, State, and local agencies from which approvals will be obtained and the name of those approvals required in order to authorize the construction, operation, or expansion of the proposed wind energy facility.

(6) A schedule showing the anticipated dates for commencement of construction, testing, and commercial operation of the proposed wind energy facility or proposed wind energy facility expansion.

Permit process

Permit process

Upon receipt of an application for an onshore wind energy facility or facility expansion, the Department shall evaluate the application for completeness. Within 75 days of determining that an application is complete, the Department shall hold a public hearing on the proposed project in the county(ies) where the project is proposed. The Department shall make a final decision on a permit application within 90 days following receipt of a complete application, except that the Department shall not be required to make a final decision until the Department has received a written "Determination of No Hazard to Air Navigation" issued by the Federal Aviation Administration pursuant to Subpart D of Part 77 of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Post-application timeline

Pre-applications received

Pre-applications received

Timbermill Wind LLC

Current applications received

Current applications received

N/A

Post-construction monitoring

Post-construction monitoring

Applicants for new operations shall annually submit copies to the Department of any post-construction monitoring, such as reports on the impacts on wildlife in the location of and in the area proximate to the wind energy facility or wind energy facility expansion and any impacts on military operations that are required by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the North Carolina Wildlife  Resources  Commission,  the  North  Carolina  Utilities  Commission  or  any  other government agency. (2013-51, s. 1.).

Contact Information

Contact Information

Josh Kastrinsky Public Information Officer, Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources 919-707-3645