Apex Clean Energy announced at the August 25 Botetourt County Board of Supervisors meeting that it has completed the first steps of acquiring a permit from the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
In the three months since the board conditionally approved the Rocky Forge wind farm, Apex Clean Energy has primarily focused on conducting its required public comment meeting at the end of July and a general comment period, which according to the project’s spokesperson, Charlie Johnson, has closed.
Neither Apex Clean Energy, Rocky Forge nor Jerry Fraley, trustee of the land on which the wind farm would be built, have filed any applications for subdivisions, boundary line adjustments, site plans or building plans for this site. The absence of paperwork is due to “a lot of things in flux,” Johnson noted to the board, including application for a permit from DEQ which was sent in August 24. This begins a 90-day period in which DEQ must take action, although the timing of their decision within that period is not fixed to any schedule.
Public sentiment regarding the project was mostly positive, according to Johnson. During the comment period, Apex received 72 submissions, 51 of which were positive. Apex must compile and respond to each public comment as part of their final submittal and, Johnson said, is working on that process now.
Despite the process of permit submission having many moving parts, Johnson told the board that Apex regards the project as being on schedule, with the Federal Aviation Agency recently having approved the site’s 618-foot-tall towers and tree clearance estimated to begin in December.