Environmental Permitting Expertise Helps Bring Power to the People

February 20, 2023

NEPA services on a solar project

National resources and attention to detail deliver meticulously and fast

It began with a permitting matrix, a proposed solar farm in rural Georgia, and a client’s desire to have Terracon flesh out the local, state, and federal procedures for project development. From this request grew other due diligence services, including desktop constraints analyses (DCAs), Phase I environmental site assessments, wetland delineations, cultural resource surveys, threatened and endangered species evaluations, and geotechnical investigations. These services quickly became the client’s go-to package items for each new rollout (more than 75 project rollouts and 700 deliverables to date), and Terracon their trusted vendor whenever a new package was required.

Rising to Meet New Challenges

One day in 2015, the client presented Terracon with a development challenge: complex permitting requirements from multiple jurisdictions on two separate projects with the same investor timeline. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VA DEQ) Renewable Permit By Rule (PBR) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Assessment (EA) documentation to comply with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utility Service funding. At the time, these two projects would be some of the very first to be permitted under the new PBR process, and the addition of EA requirements for USDA funding added another layer of complexity.

The client trusted Terracon to assist them with these challenges. We were able to turn a difficult situation into a win for both Terracon and the client:

“We hired Terracon to manage and complete the environmental permitting. In spite of a change of (federal agency) personnel mid-project, they were able to provide a level of service and competency that allowed both the Federal process and the Virginia Permit by Rule process to be accomplished expeditiously and to completion. Terracon made their own deadlines and met them, interacting with Federal and Agency personnel to the great benefit of our company. The team helped us to problem solve particular issues that were unexpected but resolved properly, and were personable and professional at all times.” – Senior VP, Project Development with energy development company

A Trusted Partner From Coast to Coast

With these two successful projects wins, Terracon quickly became the client’s go-to firm for difficult and detail-oriented project situations. When the client entered into Ohio with the desire to permit under the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) requirements, Terracon was one of their first phone calls to help them navigate the process. Since then, Terracon has assisted this client on numerous other permitting applications for solar farms in Ohio and the client has partnered with Terracon on dozens of multi-faceted energy projects nationwide.

Using a vast network of offices, resources, and service lines, Terracon consistently meets the needs of this energy client in all four corners of the country. From battery storage facilities in California to one of the largest solar projects east of the Mississippi River, Terracon has partnered on a variety of complex projects and conditions.

Terracon can provide all aspects of environmental planning services (both natural and cultural resources) in-house through a robust practice resource group. Our planning professionals can help guide the client from initial planning stages through 404 permitting, to EPC site development, and all procedures in between. What began as a single permitting matrix in Georgia has now blossomed into a multimillion-dollar national account for a highly successful client who is dominating the energy sector.

Emily Kosmalski

Emily Kosmalski, AICP is an environmental planner, and group manager in Terracon’s Atlanta office. She has nearly 17 years of experience in Environmental Planning and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Evaluations. She has assisted the private sector as well as numerous federal agencies with environmental planning and compliance.

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