Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Department of Environmental Quality
Small Solar Renewable Energy Projects Permit Regulation [9 VAC 15 ‑ 60]
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1/10/23  9:32 am
Commenter: Virginia Coalition for Human Rights

DEQ must change NOI regulations to ensure fairness and transparency

DEQ must change NOI regulations to ensure fairness and transparency


VCHR supports petitioners’ request for DEQ regulation amendments.  We are particularly concerned about the need for DEQ to tighten its regulations and enforcement for a Notice of Intent (NOI). 


We ask that DEQ require developers to submit NOIs BEFORE the submission of a PBR application.  Way before.  At least three months prior to DEQ mandatory public meetings or at least six months prior to an SUP/CUP vote before a local governing authority.  That way, interested stakeholders following DEQ publication of NOIs in the Virginia Register and stakeholders following NOIs in the Town Hall website ( will be informed of upcoming projects.


As it stands now, DEQ suggests that developers submit an NOI to DEQ as “soon in the development process as practicable”.  But the developers don’t.  They don’t because they don’t have to. DEQ mandates no hard and fast dates or time frame in which to do so.  We believe this renders the NOIs counterproductive because it doesn’t give stakeholders meaningful opportunity to participate.  In short, very few local residents know about the project until it’s over and done with.  Furthermore, this lack of transparency amplifies citizen concern that state governments don’t care about them.


Current DEQ oversight to mandate a firm timeframe for NOI submission allows developers to subvert the intended process, we believe.  Especially developers like Energix Renewable Energies that typically contract land leases and develop preliminary plans for a solar plant (the development process according to EPA) one year or more before submitting NOIs.


 I present three cases-in-point.


  1.  Willow Solar LLC in Franklin County.

August 8, 2022—Energix contacted county officials

December 19, 2022—Energix submitted PBR application to DEQ

December 19, 2022—Energix submitted NOI to DEQ


  1. Shifting Sands Solar LLC in Henry County.

March 10, 2022—Energix contacted county officials.

June 29, 2022—Energix received CUP from Board of Zoning Appeals

July 15, 2022—Energix submitted NOI to DEQ


  1. Whalebone Solar LLC in Caroline County

August 26, 2021—Planning Commission held a Public Hearing

September 20, 2022—Energix received CUP from Board of Supervisors

September 20, 2022—Energix submitted NOI to DEQ


In addition to amending the NOI regulation, VCHR asks DEQ to require that all NOIs contain the name of the developer’s parent company (and the LLC) and that a headquarters address that is associated with a dedicated office space be included.  No anonymous LLC-only NOIs should be allowed.  That way, residents would be aware of what company is the developer and residents would be aware of what its track record is.  For example, “Energix Renewable Energies, Ltd, Doing Business as (D/B/A) Shifting Sands Solar LLC” would be acceptable. “Shifting Sands Solar LLC” would not.





CommentID: 207859