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Division of Land Use Regulation
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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Wind Turbines

  • Overview
  • Freshwater Wetlands
  • Flood Hazard
  • Coastal
  • Tidelands

The Division of Land Use Regulation supports wind turbine projects which aid in limiting dependence on non-renewable energy sources.  Please note, the Division encourages the siting of wind turbine projects within developed areas of the State in an effort to limit impacts to the natural environment.

Wind turbine projects may require authorization from the Division of Land Use Regulation depending on the characteristics of the proposed structures, the project location, and impacts to “special areas” regulated by the Department.  Such disturbances may require multiple permits from the Division prior to site preparation or construction. The presence or absence of special areas can be rudimentarily determined using the Department’s online mapping service, NJ-GeoWeb.  Special areas within your project site may also affect the type of authorization required.  Therefore, it is important to closely examine a proposed project relative to the sensitive areas which may be impacted. 

The above tabs provide additional information on permit requirements relating to wind turbine projects.   For impacts to streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, flood plains, flood ways, riparian zones, please see the "Flood Hazard" tab. For impacts to special coastal areas, please see the "Coastal" tab. For impacts to Freshwater Wetlands, see the "Freshwater Wetlands" tab.  Information on Tidelands can be found by selecting the "Tidelands" tab.

Technical Manual for Evaluating Wildlife Impacts of Wind Turbines Requiring Coastal Permits

The proposed construction of wind turbines within an area of freshwater wetlands or associated transition areas would require approval from the Division of Land Use Regulation in accordance with the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:7A. Further information for determining the presence of wetlands and the width of the associated transition area on a particular site can be found in the “Freshwater Wetlands” section of the website and in the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7A).

The construction of wind turbines resulting in the disturbance of freshwater wetlands and associated transition area will require a Freshwater Wetlands Individual Permit. The requirements for a Freshwater Wetlands Individual Permit can be found in the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7A) under Subchapter 7 – Individual Freshwater Wetlands and Open Water Fill Permits (N.J.A.C. 7:7A-7).

If the construction of wind turbines will result in disturbance to transition areas only, then a Transition Area Waiver may be obtained for the project. Information about the available Transition Area Waivers can be found in the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7A) under Subchapter 6 – Transition Area Waivers (N.J.A.C. 7:7A-6).

The construction of wind turbines not requiring a CAFRA or Waterfront Development permit as described below and constructed in a flood hazard area or riparian zone of regulated water will require a Flood Hazard Area permit issued in accordance with the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:13. For more information on determining the flood hazard area or width of a riparian zone, please refer to the “Streams and Rivers” section of the website and the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:13).

The September 7, 2010 amendments to the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:13) created a permit-by-rule for the construction of one to three wind turbines less than 200 feet tall with a cumulative rotor swept area no greater than 2,000 square feet. For further information on the requirements for qualifying for this permit-by-rule, please refer to the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(b)19. In addition to the PBR specified above, other potential qualifying PBRs include those found in N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(a)2 and N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(b)6. Please refer to the rules to see the all of the applicable conditions where each PBR would apply. Some special notes about these PBRs are listed as follows.

N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(a)2 – If the project area is located in a flood hazard area, then all construction must be situated at or below grade. In addition, with this PBR, the Department’s Division of Coastal and Land Use Compliance and Enforcement must be notified of construction at least 2 weeks prior to the start of any construction.

N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(b)6 – If the project area is located in a flood hazard area, then all construction must be situated at or below grade. In addition, with this PBR, the Department’s Division of Coastal and Land Use Compliance and Enforcement must be notified of construction at least 2 weeks prior to the start of any construction.

If the proposed construction of wind turbines does not qualify for a permit-by-rule in the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:13), then a Flood Hazard Area Individual Permit will be needed. In addition to the Flood Hazard Area Individual Permit, a Flood Hazard Area Verification may also be needed unless the project is constructed in accordance with the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:13-9.6(b).

Construction of wind turbines under a Flood Hazard Area Individual Permit will require compliance with the all applicable regulations in the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:13) including but not limited to Requirements that apply to all regulated activities (N.J.A.C. 7:13-11.1), Requirements for excavation, fill and grading activities (N.J.A.C. 7:13-11.3) and Requirements for a structure (N.J.A.C. 7:13-11.4). In addition, any disturbance to vegetation within a riparian zone from construction of wind turbines will require compliance with the regulations for all other regulated activities in the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:13-10.2(r).

The construction of wind turbines within coastal areas will generally require a permit.  The location of the wind turbine project will dictate whether a permit is required and the type of permit required.  If the proposed wind turbine project does not qualify for the below described exemption, Permit-by-rule, or General Permits, a CAFRA, Coastal Wetlands, and/or Waterfront Development Individual Permit may be required.  
The “Jurisdiction” tab of the "Coastal Areas" webpage can help you determine which areas of your site may be regulated.  The availability of certain permits depends on the project’s location.

Potentially applicable Exemption:

Per N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.2(a)13, the installation of a wind turbine(s) within CAFRA jurisdiction is not considered development which requires a CAFRA permit, provided the wind turbine(s):

  • On or structurally attached to a legally existing building;
  • Less than 200’ in height, measured from the ground surface to the tip of the blade at its highest position;
  • No greater than 2,000 sq. ft. in cumulative rotor swept area; and
  • Any portion of the tower of the wind turbine more than 100’ above the ground surface is a freestanding monopole.

Per N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.4(d)4, the installation of a wind turbine(s) within Upland Waterfront Development jurisdiction is not considered development which requires an Upland Waterfront Development permit, provided the wind turbine(s):

  • On or structurally attached to a legally existing building;
  • Less than 200’ in height, measured from the ground surface to the tip of the blade at its highest position;
  • No greater than 2,000 sq. ft. in cumulative rotor swept area; and
  • Any portion of the tower of the wind turbine more than 100’ above the ground surface is a freestanding monopole.

Potentially applicable Permit-by-rule (PBR):

PBR 12 - authorizes the construction of one to three wind turbines less than 200’ in height, measured from the ground surface to the tip of the blade at its highest position, and having a cumulative rotor swept area no greater than 2,000 sq. ft., provided:

  • No portion of the wind turbine(s), including blades, tower and site disturbance, shall be located in, on or over dunes, beaches, wetlands, coastal bluffs, or wild and scenic river corridors;
  • No wind turbine tower(s) or site disturbance shall be located in floodways;
  • The wind turbine(s), including blades, tower and site disturbance, is set back a minimum of 50’, as measured parallel to the ground;
  • No portion of the wind turbine, including blades, tower, and site disturbance, shall be located within an area mapped as threatened or endangered species habitat on the Department’s Landscape Maps of Habitat for Endangered, Threatened and Other Priority Wildlife (Landscape Maps) except as provided below.  The Landscape Maps are available on the Department’s interactive mapping website;
    • The wind turbine(s) is located within 120’ of an existing building on an actively maintained lawn or area of land that has been manipulated by contouring of the soil and/or by intentional planting of flowers, grasses, shrubs, trees or other ornamental vegetation, which is maintained in such a condition by regular and frequent (at least one time per year) cutting, mowing, pruning, planting, weeding or mulching;or
    • The wind turbine(s) is located on legally existing non-porous cover;
  • If the wind turbine(s) is more than 120’ tall, measured from the ground surface to the tip of the blade at its highest position, the tower shall be a freestanding monopole(s); and
  • No lighting shall be placed on or directed at the wind turbine except for lighting required by the Federal Aviation Administration.  Shielded ground level security lighting may be used.  Lighting is shielded when it is covered in a way that light rays are not emitted above the horizontal plane of the light.

Potentially applicable General Permits (GPs):

GP 25 - authorizes construction of one to three wind turbines less than 200’ in height and having 1 cumulative rotor swept area no greater than 4,000 sq. ft.  

GP 26 - authorizes construction of wind turbines less than 250’ in height and having a cumulative rotor swept area no greater than 20,000 sq. ft.  

In addition, please see the Technical Manual for Evaluating Wildlife Impacts of Wind Turbines Requiring Coastal Permits

Please contact the Division’s Technical Support Center at (609) 777-0454 should you require further assistance.

Tidelands, also known as riparian lands, are all those lands now or formerly flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway; that is to say any land that is currently or was previously covered by tidal waters.  The State of New Jersey, and therefore the people of New Jersey, owns all Tidelands except for those to which it has already sold its interest in the form of a riparian grant.  It is important to note that the State generally does not own artificial waterways such as lagoons however, the State does claim those lands within a lagoon that were flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway which existed prior to the creation of the lagoon.

Wind turbines that are proposed in a tidelands area may require a tidelands license if the activities are taking place at or below the mean high water line of a tidal waterway or a tidelands grant if the activities are taking place in an area that is currently landward of the mean high water line but was, at some point, flowed by the tide.

A tidelands license is a short term revocable rental document to use tidelands generally for structures such as docks, bulkhead extensions, mooring piles, and other temporary structures as well as for dredging projects. Licenses are project specific and expire after a finite term ranging from one to ten years. Most licenses may be renewed.

For more information on tidelands instruments, please see the tidelands section of this website.

For information and instruction on how to determine whether you are in an area that may require either a license or a grant, or for information how to apply for Tideland instruments please see the "Before you Build, Before you Buy" webpage.

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Last Updated: July 6, 2015