DEQ fines Energix Renewable Energies over $150,000 for environmental violations— further damaging its reputation in Virginia.

Citing Energix violations of some 75 legal requirements of the State Water Control Law, permits, and regulations, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has fined Energix $158,000 in an Enforcement Action/Order by Consent (Order) issued May 20, 2024 for seven solar sites. This represents the fourth such Order over three consecutive years and brings total Energix fines to almost $350,000.

The multiple-site DEQ inspections included Buckingham II Solar in Buckingham County, Axton Solar (Phases 1,2, 3) in Henry County, Waverly Solar (Phases 2 and 3) in Sussex County, and Wytheville Solar in Wythe County. Overall, DEQ conducted 32 sites visits from March 2023 to May 2024.

According to the 33-page Order, Energix committed violations that largely concerned land disturbance activities, which included the denuding and destabilization of significant portions of sites.  And because Energix improperly installed erosion control devices in many sites, sediment had accumulated in traps and basins, in stormwater conveyance channels, and in pipes, which allowed its release directly into streams.

 

Besides Energix’s failure to contain sediment flow, Energix graded steep slopes without permission, failed to install check dams and stormwater conveyance channels, and constructed faulty silt fences.  In one instance, in Axton Solar, Energix even used tape to seal a series of pipes.

 

Examples of Energix violations that pertain to water disturbance activities included the accumulation of 1-8 inches of sediment in the Palustrine Forested Wetland at Waverly Phase 2 in Sussex and the construction of a non-permitted road across a stream at Axton Solar.

 

DEQ’s schedule of compliance requires that Energix procure a dedicated Environmental Compliance Officer and that Energix remediate outstanding issues on all sites within 7-30 days.

 

Citing the widespread and continuing violations of Energix, multiple Virginia communities have petitioned state and municipal authorities to withhold permits from Energix.  To date, Virginia communities in six counties have successfully opposed multiple Energix applications for solar energy projects:  Amherst, Caroline, Dinwiddie, Franklin, New Kent, and Pulaski.

 

On May 21, one day after the Order was issued, the Dinwiddie Board of Supervisors denied 80-megawatt Lily Pond Solar for the second time in three years citing overwhelming citizen demands for maintenance of the county’s rural character.

 

The Virginia Coalition for Human Rights (VCHR) presented an information overview about Energix at the National Press Club in March 2022.  VCHR contact is: vacoalition4hr@gmail.com.

See the DEQ enforcement order, attached.
Note violations described in the Consent Order for the Buckingham II Solar site.  The state agency will accept public comments through June 21 before issuing its final order. Send comments to kristen.sadtler@deq.virginia.gov.

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares

Help spread the word!

Share this post with your friends!