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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 construction of a single wind turbine or a series of wind turbines may require an approval from the Division of Land Use Regulation depending on the characteristics of the proposed structures as well as the proposed construction location. On September 7, 2010, the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:13), the Coastal Permit Program Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7-1.1 et seq.) and the Coastal Zone Management Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7E-1.1 et seq.) were amended to include exemptions, permit-by-rules, general permits and revised requirements for individual permits for wind turbine construction.

Please refer to each section for more information and guidance on how wind turbines are regulated and what permits may be required for their construction in New Jersey. Copies of all the rules and regulations discussed in the following sections can be obtained from the “Laws and Regulations” section of the website.

Note: The Division supports the development of renewable energy projects in an effort to limit dependence on non renewable energy sources. It is recommended and encouraged that construction of these project be sited within developed areas of the State wherever possible to limit impact to the State's natural environment.

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 is a regulated activity within New Jersey’s coastal zone, specifically within CAFRA and Waterfront Development jurisdiction and within areas of mapped coastal wetlands.

Please refer to the “Jurisdiction” section of the "Coastal Permitting" section of the website to determine which areas regulated under the Coastal Permit Program Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7-1.1 et seq.) and the Coastal Zone Management Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7E-1.1 et seq.) occur on your site. The availability of certain permits and exemptions for a project depends on where your project is proposed.

If the project does not meet the requirements of an exemption, a permit-by-rule or a general permit, the project will generally require a Waterfront Development or CAFRA Individual permit and/or a Coastal Wetlands permit.  Additional information regarding the Division’s coastal program can be found on the “Coastal Permitting” section of this website.  If necessary, please contact the Division’s Technical Support Center for further assistance.

This coastal exemption may apply to your project--

  • The installation of a wind turbine on or structurally attached to a legally existing building provided it meets all the requirements of the exemption. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1(a)13 and N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.3(d) 4 for information on the requirements of this exemption for activities conducted within CAFRA and Waterfront Development jurisdictions.

These coastal permits-by-rule may apply to your project --

  • Coastal Permit-by-Rule 12 authorizes the construction of one to three wind turbines less than 200 feet in height with a cumulative rotor swept area less than 2,000 square feet.  This permit-by-rule does not apply in, on or over dunes, beaches, wetlands, coastal bluffs, wild and scenic river corridors, floodways, threatened and endangered species habitat and critical wildlife habitats..  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.2(a)12 for information on the requirements of this permit-by-rule. 

These coastal general permits may apply to your project—

  • Coastal General Permit 30 authorizes the construction of one to three wind turbines less than 200 feet in height and having a cumulative rotor swept area no greater than 4,000 square feet.  This general permit does not apply in, on or over dunes, beaches, wetlands, coastal bluffs, wild and scenic river corridors, floodways, or threatened and endangered species habitat. Monitoring and limitations on operation during wildlife migration may be required under this general permit.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.30 for information on the requirements of this general permit.
  • Coastal general permit 31 authorizes the construction of wind turbines less than 250 feet in height and having a cumulative rotor swept area no greater than 20,000 square feet.  This general permit does not apply in, on or over dunes, beaches, wetlands, coastal bluffs, wild and scenic river corridors, floodways, or threatened and endangered species habitat. Monitoring and limitations of operation during wildlife migration may be required under this general permit.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.31 for information on the requirements of this general permit.

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: May 21, 2014