Apex Clean Energy filed its permit application for the Rocky Forge wind energy project in Botetourt County, Virginia with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on May 3.
Apex plans to locate the potential 78-MW facility on the southernmost portion of North Mountain in Botetourt County. Botetourt County is in Western Virginia not far from Roanoke and Lexington.
The project will consist of up to 25 turbines, which is enough energy to power up to 20,000 average sized homes each year, the company said in its application. The power generated by the project will be linked to the electric transmission grid operated by PJM via the existing Dominion (NYSE:D) transmission lines that traverse the property.
The proposed example wind turbine for Rocky Forge has a hub height of 99 meters or 325 feet and is projected to be built using three or four tubular steel sections (monopole design) coated for corrosion protection.
Rocky Forge would be operated and maintained by a team of approximately six-to-eight people, including facility managers, a site manager, and a certified crew of technicians.
Apex filed its notice of intent with the Virginia DEQ in June 2015. The Botetourt County Board of Supervisors approved a Wind Ordinance in June 2015. The ordinance establishes Agricultural and Forest Conservation zoning districts as appropriate for wind energy projects with a Special Exception Permit.
Application cites wind potential in Virginia
Apex Clean Energy Holdings, LLC was established in 2009 by a group of energy executives with over a decade’s experience in renewable energy. Apex was a market leader for new wind energy capacity additions in the United States in 2015, with 1,042 MW of wind facilities built.
Wind energy is already widely used in 39 states and has become a main stream source of electricity. In 2015, Iowa produced over 31% of its electricity with wind energy, South Dakota produced over 25%, and ten other states produced over 10% of their electricity with wind, Apex said.
In addition to being non-emitting, wind power also helps shield ratepayers from overexposure to energy sources with variable fuel costs. The Commonwealth’s renewable portfolio goal is 15% of 2007 sale by 2025. “While this is a voluntary goal, the state has implemented programs (such as the Small Renewable Energy Projects (Wind) Permit by Rule) to help facilitate goal achievement,” Apex said in the application.
The 2014 Virginia Energy Plan concluded that Virginia has an “onshore wind resource potential of 1,793 MW” based on an 80-meter hub height. The plan also noted that the best wind potential rests in the Western part of the state along mountain ridges.
In 2009, the Virginia General Assembly enacted legislation directing the Virginia DEQ to develop regulations for the construction and operation of renewable energy projects of 100 MW and less.