80-MW Amazon solar project gets permit in Virginia

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued its first permit “by rule” to an 80-MW solar energy project in in northern Accomack County.

Community Energy is the developer and owner of the solar facility. Community has partnered with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) affiliate Amazon Web Services in a long-term power purchase agreement that enables the project to be built.

The power from the Amazon Solar Farm US East will be delivered into the electrical grids that supply Amazon Web Services’ data center activities, including facilities located in Northern Virginia. 

“The partnership between Community Energy and Amazon Web Services, which will result in the largest solar facility in the Mid-Atlantic, is indicative of the types of opportunities that my Administration is working toward through our commitment to build a new Virginia economy,” said Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. 

The permit for the solar facility was issued at Eastern Shore Community College, demonstrating the nexus between innovative opportunities in the energy sector, the governor’s office said in a news release. The project should more than quadruple the amount of solar energy currently installed in Virginia.

The DEQ informed Community Energy Solar and Eastern Shore Solar of the approval in a Sept. 28 letter, saying that the project had met the needed requirements for approval of a renewable energy facility. The project will be located near the Delmarva Power Oak Hall electric transmission substation.

The developer must remit $80,000 to DEQ as part of a formal mitigation plan. The developer must notify DEQ Office of Renewable Energy Permitting Mary Major of when actual construction is expected to start.

When contacted Sept. 29, Major told GenerationHub that the project is expected to start generating power by the end of 2016 in order to qualify for certain tax incentives. The developer has leased a significant amount of land, perhaps 1,000 acres, in connection with the project, Major said.  

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.