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Chowan extends Timbermill permit to March 31, 2023  

Credit:  By Tyler Newman | Chowan Herald | www.dailyadvance.com ~~

EDENTON – The company developing the Timbermill Wind energy project in Chowan County will have a little less than another year to get the long-delayed project started.

Chowan commissioners agreed last month to extend Apex Clean Energy’s conditional use permit for Timbermill Wind to March 31, 2023. The company’s current use permit was originally set to expire on May 15, 2021.

The vote to grant the extension was 5-1, with Commissioner Larry McLaughlin casting the lone “no” vote.

Apex was granted its first conditional use permit for the project in November 2016, before North Carolina lawmakers passed an 18-month moratorium on wind turbine projects in the state in July 2017.

Since then, the permit has remained valid due to a state law extending conditional use permits during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 116 – which declared a state of emergency due to COVID – is allowing permits to run indefinitely until 150 days after the order is rescinded.

Don Giecek of Apex Clean Energy gave Chowan commissioners an update on the Timbermill project last month, telling them the company hopes to have shovels in the ground by the first quarter of 2023. Giecek based that prediction on the fact Apex was awarded final approvals and permits for the wind project over the third and fourth quarters of 2022.

Apex officials hope to have the Timbermill Wind project online by the fourth quarter of 2023, he said.

McLaughlin asked Giecek why it’s taken Apex so long to get the project started.

Giecek said both COVID restrictions and the former wind moratorium had created hindrances, but the number of permits, approvals and studies Apex has to seek across multiple levels of government has also played a role.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Kirby noted Apex was asking for an additional 40 percent of time on its current permit to get the rest of the project complete.

“An additional 40 percent of time? That’s a big miss,” Kirby said. “Do you think you had a big miss or is it just that hard working in the state of North Carolina?”

Giecek replied, “I think it’s the nature of the business and its inherent complexity as well as working with the state and federal government.”

“Don’t come back on March 31, 2023, and ask for more time,” Kirby responded. “Get it done, for the community’s sake.”

Commissioner Ellis Lawrence made a motion to grant Apex’s request for the extension.

McLaughlin said he saw no use in granting the extension, particularly since Cooper’s state of emergency is still in place.

“I don’t see the point in extending it,” he said before voting against the extension.

The board was not required to hold a public hearing on Apex’s request.

Source:  By Tyler Newman | Chowan Herald | www.dailyadvance.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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