Federal agencies to write EIS on 100-MW First Solar project in Nevada

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), as lead agency in cooperation with the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other federal agencies, intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a solar project in Nevada.

The planned EIS will evaluate a photovoltaic solar energy generation project, called the Aiya Solar Project, on the Moapa River Indian Reservation and a transmission line located on tribal lands, private lands and federal lands administered and managed by BLM in Clark County, Nevada.

A notice to be published in the Nov. 21 Federal Register announces the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public comments and identify potential issues related to the EIS. Written comments will be taken for 30 days from Nov. 21.

The project developer is a subsidiary of First Solar Inc. and the project is an up-to-100-MW (ac) facility located entirely on the Moapa River Indian Reservation and specifically on lands held in trust by BIA for the Moapa Band. The proposed 230-kV generation-tie transmission line required for interconnection may be located on Tribal lands, private lands and/or federal lands administered and managed by BLM. First Solar has accordingly requested that the BIA and BLM additionally approve right-of-ways (ROWs) authorizing the construction and operation of the transmission line.

The project would be located in Township 14 South, Range 66 East, Sections 29, 30, 31, and 32 Mount Diablo Meridian, Nevada. A single overhead 230-kV generation-tie transmission line, approximately 1.5 to 3 miles long, would connect the solar project to either NV Energy’s Reid-Gardner 230-kV substation or the proposed Reid Gardner Collector Substation, which is under development by NV Energy.

The project is expected to be built in one phase of up to 100 MW, per the demand of potential off-takers or utilities. During construction, the PV panels will be placed on top of fixed-tilt and/or single-axis tracking mounting systems that are set on steel posts embedded in the ground. Other foundation design techniques may be used depending on the site topography and conditions.

Aiya Solar Project LLC on Nov. 20 filed with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission a notice about the federal application on the gen-tie line.

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.