Environmental Permitting for Wind Energy Facilities by rbu19269


									Environmental Permitting for
Wind Energy Facilities

                Anntonette Alberti, JD
                      Tetra Tech, Inc.

                              Wind Energy Services

   Preliminary considerations
   Local approvals
   State approvals
   Federal Approvals

                                 Wind Energy Services
Preliminary Permitting Considerations

   You want to get permits for an
    economically constructable
    •   This is most important: Permits
        should provide you with the
        permission to build what will
        ultimately be on your construction
         – Ideally, micro-siting will occur before,
           not after, the submittal of permit

                                                      Wind Energy Services
Preliminary Permitting Considerations

   Permits will cover all project
    •   Turbine locations, crane pads, and
        associated work space
    •   Access roads, public road
    •   Electrical collection system and
        project transmission lines
    •   Substations, switch yards and point
        of interconnect
    •   O&M building, visitor kiosks, parking
    •   Construction related facilities,
        concrete batch plants, disposal
    •   Mitigation areas

                                                Wind Energy Services
Potential Construction Impacts, continued

   Permits often require studies that must begin well before
    permit applications are submitted
    •   Avian, bat, and other wildlife
    •   Protected plants and noxious weeds
    •   Wetlands and water bodies
    •   Cultural resources
    •   Noise (Sound)
    •   Visual Impact and Shadow Flicker
    •   Telecommunications
    •   Aviation
    •   Geotechnical
    •   Etc.

                                                      Wind Energy Services
Local Approvals

   Most projects will require at least
    one important local approval
     •   Special use or conditional use
     •   Wind overlay zone approvals
     •   Site plan approvals
     •   Building permits
     •   Electrical permits
     •   Road use or improvement permits
     •   Variances
   Some state siting boards are
    authorized to override local
     •   But most must demonstrate that
         the project would be consistent
         with local ordinances & there is no
         reasonable objection to the
         development of the project.

                                               Wind Energy Services
Local Approvals

   The need for local approvals and the process
    for obtaining approvals varies throughout the
     • In some areas, the local approval process
        will be time-consuming and the project will
        be subject to close scrutiny. In contrast,
        some municipalities require only a building
     • The development team should assess
        which local approvals will be required and
        consult with counsel.
   Remember that aside from positive economic
    benefits, most positive benefits of wind farm
    development are “global,” while most negative
    impacts are local
     • Local support is crucial to wind farm
                                                      Wind Energy Services
State Approvals

   Required State approvals vary greatly
   Numerous state regulatory programs are likely to be
    triggered by a proposed wind energy project. While such
    programs often mirror, implement (through delegated
    authority), or complement similar federal laws, the state
    version is typically more stringent than its federal

                                                     Wind Energy Services
State Approvals

   Common State approvals:
    •   “Little NEPA”
    •   State Siting Statutes
    •   Endangered Species Act
    •   Wetland Permits
    •   Stream Crossing Permits
    •   State Owned Land
    •   Historic Preservation
    •   Stormwater
    •   Agricultural Protection
    •   DOT (Roadway) Permitting

                                   Wind Energy Services
State Approvals
   Jurisdictions with “Little NEPA” include:
     •   California
     •   Connecticut
     •   District of Columbia
     •   Georgia
     •   Guam
     •   Hawaii
     •   Indiana
     •   Maryland
     •   Massachusetts
     •   Minnesota
     •   Montana
     •   Nevada/California - Tahoe
     •   New Jersey
     •   New York
     •   North Carolina
     •   Puerto Rico
     •   South Dakota
     •   Virginia
     •   Washington
     •   Wisconsin

                                                Wind Energy Services
State Approvals
   State Energy Facility Siting
    Commissions/Public Utility
    •   A single agency with primary
        jurisdiction over wind energy
    •   A dedicated agency oversees all
        issues relating to the siting of new
        energy facilities (other agencies
        participate as interested parties).
    •   Review usually involves detailed
        adjudicatory hearings during which
        attorneys and expert witnesses
        provide information to a decision
        maker. May include environmental
        impact review, superseding any
        state “little-NEPA” program.
    •   Some states authorize the state
        siting agency to override local

                                               Wind Energy Services
Federal Approvals

   National Environmental
    Policy Act
    •   NEPA requires federal
        agencies to publicly study
        the environmental impacts
        of their proposed actions,
        as well as alternative
        actions, prior to taking an
    •   Gives the public the
        opportunity to weigh in
        before an action is taken
    •   Doesn’t require the federal
        government to avoid all
        environmental impacts –
        just that it be open and
        honest about its impacts

                                      Wind Energy Services
Federal Approvals

   Common actions that
    trigger NEPA on a wind
    project include:
    •   Federal permit
    •   Federal land use
    •   Interconnection to a
        federally managed
        transmission line
    •   Federal funding

                               Wind Energy Services
Federal Approvals

   Federal Wetland and Waterbody
    •   Section 10 Construction Permit:
        Required for construction w/in
        navigable waters of the U.S.
        (transmission line crossings, bridges,
        temporary dams, etc.)
    •   Section 404 Dredge Permit: Required
        for dredging or disposal of dredged or
        fill material in navigable waters. This
        permit is required for any construction
        within federal wetlands.
         – Individual or general permits issued
           on a state, regional or national basis
    •   States issue Section 401 Certification
    •   Requires Section 7 and Section 106

                                                    Wind Energy Services
Federal Approvals

   National Pollutant Discharge
    Elimination System (NPDES)
    permits for stormwater
    •   Most states and some Indian tribes are
        authorized by the USEPA to implement
        the NPDES permitting program.
    •   During pre-construction and
        construction, a NPDES Stormwater
        Permit for Construction Activities is
        required for any ground disturbance in
        excess of one acre.
    •   Some states require a NPDES
        Stormwater Permit for the operating
    •   Preparation of a Stormwater Pollution
        Prevention Plan is required (SWPPP)

                                                 Wind Energy Services
Federal Approvals

   Endangered Species Act and other Wildlife Protection Laws
    •   ESA Section 9 prohibits unauthorized take of endangered wildlife. The
        ESA regulations extend this to threatened animals.
    •   Section 11(b) makes it a crime to knowingly "take" an endangered
        species without a permit.
    •   Section 7 prohibits federal agencies from approving projects that are
        “likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or result
        in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat.”
         – If a project requires a federal permit, Section 7 consultation will occur as
           part of federal permit review.
               » Many wind projects do not require any federal permits. In those
                  situations, wind developers are advised to conduct a voluntary
                  consultation with the USFWS under Section 10 to avoid penalties for
                  unauthorized take, which range from civil fines, criminal penalties
                  (including incarceration), and potentially, injunctions against operation
                  of the wind project.
    •   Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
        also relevant

                                                                               Wind Energy Services
Federal Approvals

   National Historic Preservation
     •   Section 106 Consultation
         identifies possible conflicts
         between historic preservation
         objectives and a proposed
         federal activity
     •   NHPA does not require that all
         cultural resources must be
         preserved. It requires the
         federal agency to consider the
         effects of proposed on cultural
     •   Typically requires consultation
         with the State Historic
         Preservation Office (SHPO)
         and any potentially affected
         Native American tribes

                                           Wind Energy Services
Federal Approvals

   Federal Aviation
    •   Early study potential for
        conflicts with civilian and
        military airspace and
        military radar
    •   The FAA requires a Notice
        of Proposed Construction
        (NPC) (Form 7460-1) for
        any structure greater than
        200 feet above ground
    •   If there is a Determination
        of Hazard, you need an

                                      Wind Energy Services
Federal Approvals

   Federal Land Use Authorizations
    •   Special rules apply to acquiring the
        right to build wind turbines on
        federally managed lands; Get
        consultant who has been through
        the process:
         –   Bureau of Land Management
         –   US Forest Service
         –   Bureau of Reclamation
         –   Department of Defense
         –   Bureau of Indian Affairs
    •   NEPA compliance is required
   Federal Transmission Line
    •   NEPA compliance is required
    •   Triggers Section 7 and Section 106

                                               Wind Energy Services
AWEA Siting Guide!

   http://www.awea.org/sitinghandbook/
   Prepared by Tetra Tech and Nixon Peabody
   Live, regularly updated links to hundreds of sources for
    environmental study and permitting

                                                      Wind Energy Services
Tetra Tech

 Tetra Tech, Inc provides environmental, engineering, and
  construction services to the three phases of a wind
  project: development, construction, and operation.
 Publicly traded company (TTEK)
 Chosen by Smart Money magazine as one of the “10
  Stocks for the Next 10 Years”
 Annual revenues in excess of $1.4 billion; financial
  strength to stand behind large wind energy projects,
  including EPC & BOP
 Over 8,500 employees in 250 offices world-wide
 Consistently ranked in Engineering News Record as one
  of the top ten

                                                  Wind Energy Services
Tetra Tech

   Acquisition of The Delaney Group – a well-respected
    leader in renewable energy construction
   Experienced energy staff in all disciplines
   More than 6 million hours without a lost work day over
    past two years
    •   Injury rate is ¼ the national average
    •   70+ National Safety Council awards
    •   Employee health and safety perception rating in top 2% nation-
   ISO 14001 Certification for all services
    •   First major full-service firm to earn certification with such broad
   ISO 9001 Certification for Wind Engineering
    •   Documented quality procedures and systems to meet global
        standards and expectations

                                                                   Wind Energy Services
Tetra Tech’s Services for Wind

                                 Wind Energy Services
Anntonette Alberti, JD

                    Wind Energy Services

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