BP Wind 500-MW project in Arizona clears Interior Dept. review process

BP Wind Energy North America has cleared the environmental review process for its 500-MW Mohave County Wind Farm Project in Arizona.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Sept. 17 Federal Register will announce the availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Mohave County project. The Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management approved the ROD on June 26, which constitutes the final decision of the Department of the Interior.

BP Wind Energy proposes to construct, operate, maintain, and eventually decommission the project, a wind-powered facility located approximately 40 miles northwest of the city of Kingman in Mohave County, Ariz. BP Wind Energy applied to the BLM for a right-of-way (ROW) grant and to the Bureau of Reclamation for a right-of-use (ROU) contract for the project that would produce up to 500 MW.

BP Wind Energy also applied to the Western Area Power Administration (Western) for interconnection to either the 345-kV Liberty-Mead transmission line or the 500-kV Mead-Phoenix transmission line that crosses the project area. Western has applied to the BLM for a ROW grant for construction, operation, and maintenance of a switching station that would allow transmission of electricity generated by the project.

The project includes up to 243 wind turbine generators and associated infrastructure on approximately 35,329 acres of BLM–managed land and about 2,781 acres of Reclamation-administered land. The project components include turbine generators with a power output ranging from 1.5 to 3.0 MW each, pad mounted transformers, access roads, an underground 34.5-kV electrical collection system, distribution line, overhead transmission line, an operation and maintenance building, two temporary laydown/staging areas with concrete batch plant operations, temporary and permanent meteorological towers, switchyard, two substations, wate wells, temporary water pipeline, and temporary use of the Detrital Wash materials pit as a material source.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was published in the Federal Register in April 2012. The Final EIS was published on May 17.

The No Action Alternative and four action alternatives were analyzed in the Final EIS. The proposed action, Alternative A, called for the use of about 38,099 acres of BLM-managed land and 8,960 acres of Reclamation-administered land. Alternative B would require around 30,872 acres of BLM-managed land and 3,848 acres of Reclamation-administered land. Alternative C called for the use of 30,178 acres of BLM-managed land and about 5,124 acres of Reclamation-administered land. Alternative E would require around 35,329 acres of BLM-managed land and 2,781 acres of Reclamation-administered land. Alternative E is BLM’s and Reclamation’s preferred alternative and represents a combination of Alternatives A and B.

BLM and Reclamation approved Alternative E, including associated infrastructure and a switching station, and issue ROW grant and ROU contract, respectively, across federal lands for the construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of the project to BP Wind Energy; and for the BLM to issue a ROW grant to Western for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a switching station, subject to terms and conditions of the ROW grants and ROU contract, plan of development, and mitigation measures. Full implementation of this decision is contingent upon BP Wind Energy and Western obtaining all applicable permits and approvals.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.