Moapa Solar project in Nevada clears the BLM review process

The 200-MW Moapa Solar Energy Center Project in Nevada has cleared the environmental review process at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

In the May 12 Federal Register, BLM will announce the availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Moapa Solar Energy Center Project. The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management signed the ROD on May 1, which constitutes the final decision of the department.

Moapa Solar LLC had applied to the BLM for a right-of-way grant on public lands to develop ancillary facilities for the 200-MW project on tribal lands. These ancillary facilities consist of roads, transmission lines and a water pipeline. The Moapa Solar Energy Center Project is located about 20 miles northeast of Las Vegas in Clark County, Nev. 

A final environmental impact statement (EIS) on the project released on Feb. 14 said that photovoltaic technology for this project at up to 200 MW of capacity is the preferred alternative in the EIS. But two concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies, which focus sunlight to receivers where the heat is used to produce steam that creates electricity via a conventional steam turbine generator, are also in consideration.

Interior touts the approval of this project

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on May 7 had announced the approval of the Moapa Solar Energy Center Project, which is on tribal trust land, and that nine federally recognized tribes have been awarded Tribal Energy Development Capacity grants totaling over $700,000. The competitive grants, provided by the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs’ Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, fund projects that help build tribal capacity for energy and mineral resource development, including renewable energy projects.

“Today’s announcement reflects the Obama Administration’s steadfast commitment to work with Indian Country leaders to promote strong, prosperous and resilient tribal economies and communities,” said Jewell on May 7. “This solar project and these grants also deliver on the President’s Climate Action Plan goals to spur important investments and jobs in tribal communities that can be leveraged to address some of the impacts from climate change that threaten tribal lands, waters and ways of life. The Moapa solar project will generate enough electricity to power 60,000 homes and will create hundreds of jobs and additional income for the tribe.”

The Moapa solar project is the second utility-scale solar project approved for development on tribal trust lands, and is one of the many steps the administration has taken to help strengthen tribal communities. The project is also the 52nd utility-scale renewable energy project that Interior has approved since 2009 as part of a department-wide effort to advance smart development of renewable energy on public lands. Together, the wind, solar and geothermal projects could support more than 20,000 construction and operations jobs and generate about 14,000 MW of power to communities across the West, or enough to power nearly 4.8 million homes.

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.