12/9/2022 11:43 am
Date / Time filed with the Register of Regulations
VA.R. Document Number: R____-______
Virginia Register Publication Information

Transmittal Sheet: Response to Petition for Rulemaking
Initial Agency Notice
Agency Decision
Promulgating Board: Department of Environmental Quality
Regulatory Coordinator: Melissa Porterfield


Agency Contact: Susan Tripp

Renewable Energy PBR Coordinator


Contact Address: Department of Environmental Quality

1111 East Main Street, Suite 1400

P.O. Box 1105

Richmond, VA 23218
Chapter Affected:
vac 15 - 60: Small Solar Renewable Energy Projects Permit Regulation
Statutory Authority: State: Code of Virginia Sections 10.1-1197.5 through 10.1-1197.11

Federal: N/A
Date Petition Received 12/09/2022
Petitioner Joni Lam
 Petitioner's Request
The following facts and deficiencies are submitted in response to Energix Renewable Energies 30-day comment period notice for the period November 9, 2022 through December 9, 2022 for a 15.68-megawatt Endless Caverns North Project utility scale solar site in Endless Caverns (and related Endless Caverns South). This comment period forms part and parcel of Energix's PBR application to the Department of Environmental Quality dated October 2022. Because of Energix Renewable Energies' systematic abuse of the PBR process, this document is also a petition for DEQ to amend its existing regulation of Solar Project Notices of Intent. A copy of this PBR deficiency filing and included Administrative Process Act ยง 2.2-4007 Petitions for new or amended regulations; opportunity for public comment has been filed with the DEQ, Governor of Virginia, the State Attorney General, and the petitioners' state and local representatives, as well as other interested parties.   Energix subverted community stakeholder interests and did not properly notify DEQ by its filing of a NOI until five months after its simultaneous December 8, 2021 preliminary site plan filing and the SUP vote. DEQ should mandate that all Notices of Intent for solar utilities under PBR be filed at least three months before the mandatory public meeting or six months before any county board of supervisor vote is taken on a special use permit. "As early in the project development process as practicable" should be further defined as "and at least three months before the mandatory public meeting or six months before any county board of supervisor vote." Any refiling of Notices of Intent after a special use permit is issued should trigger a restart of the public meeting and SUP vote, or DEQ will not consider the SUP submitted with PBRs as valid.   Energix has faced denial of permits or has been forced to withdraw its applications in New Kent County (New Kent Solar LLC, November, 2022),Pulaski County (Energix Helios Solar LLC, October, 2022), Caroline County (Energix Racehorse Solar, September 2022), Dinwiddie County (Energix Lily Pond Solar, October 2021), and Franklin County. It appears that Energix is trying to mislead communities about its record by filing materially misleading NOIs or filing them too late in the process to have any impact on permitting. DEQ should mandate that all Notices of Intent list the name of the owner operator and the address of the official headquarters of the owner operator, as opposed to misleading shared office space addresses.   As in Endless Caverns, Energix appears to be inundating counties and the DEQ with proposed solar sites and with misleading NOI's in order to avoid HB206 environmental protections, which are to commence in 2024. DEQ should flag for extra scrutiny Energix PBR applications that have misleading NOIs or that have "out of sequence" document chronologies in order to protect communities from environmental harm.   Rockingham County stakeholders value the contribution of their farmers and property owners too much to allow Energix to hurt farmers who support repairs that DEQ has mandated. This PBR must fail because Energix appears to weaponize DEQ- mandated repair actions against innocent parties, and DEQ has no policies in place to protect landowners. DEQ should amend its administrative procedures so that operators of solar utilities are not allowed to financially jeopardize landowners cooperating with DEQ-mandated repairs.
 Agency Plan
The Department of Environmental Quality, as required by Virginia law, is submitting notice of the petition for publication in the Virginia Register of Regulations and announcing a public comment period. Following receipt of comments on the petition, the Department will consider whether to grant or deny the petition for rulemaking.
Publication Date 01/02/2023  (comment period will also begin on this date)
Comment End Date 01/23/2023