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Environment

Permit for VA Solar Farm Authorized

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This morning Governor McAuliffe, his chief of Environmental Quality, and the Secretary of Natural Resources traveled from Richmond to the northern tip of Virginia's Eastern Shore to personally deliver a very special document, the first of its kind in the state.

The document, a permit, sounds like red tape. But this one is unique in that it actually helps small renewable energy businesses expedite state-mandated paperwork. Still, it took six years for a company to actually use it. Community Energy Solar's new permit will allow it to build an 80 megawatt solar farm on the Eastern Shore in Accomack County. David Paylor heads Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality.

“This is perhaps the largest solar facility in the mid-Atlantic, certainly one of the largest on the eastern seaboard right now. It demonstrates that we are focused on a diverse electric generation mix and particularly happy to have zero carbon generation.”

The permit comes on the heels of EPA's new clean power plan that targets carbon pollution from power plants.

“Particularly proud of these rules and this permit process because we have a process that gives the industry the certainty they need and the environmental community has looked at them and been involved in the development of them and has said, “yup, this will protect our environmental and historical resources as well.”

While the permitting process may be quicker than normal, there are no other businesses lining up to use it. But the state says it's only a matter of time.

“We think we're going to begin to see some wind projects that are going to fall under these rules as well. We very well may see more solar projects as folks begin to gravitate toward increasing our renewable energy portfolio.”

Community Energy Solar will begin building Virginia's largest solar farm late this year or early next.

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