NV Energy pursues BLM approval for 130-MW solar project

The Las Vegas Field Office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is taking comment until Jan. 8, 2015, on an environmental assessment (EA) covering the Dry Lake Solar Energy Center, an up to 130-MW solar project proposed by Nevada Power d/b/a NV Energy.

As part of the Western Solar Plan, the BLM identified specific locations that are well suited for utility-scale production of solar energy (i.e., solar energy zones (SEZs)) where the BLM proposes to prioritize development, which included the establishment of the Dry Lake SEZ located in Clark County, Nevada. On June 30, 2014, the BLM held a competitive auction for six parcels of public land within the Dry Lake SEZ. NV Energy was one of three successful bidders to become a preferred applicant with the right to submit a right of way (ROW) application and Plan of Development (POD) for a solar energy project within the Dry Lake SEZ. EAs for all three were issued on Dec. 8 and are out for comment until Jan. 8.

The project is located about 23 miles northeast of Las Vegas in Clark County. The town of Moapa is located 18 miles northeast, and the town of Overton is located 23 miles east of the project.

The EA noted: “The State of Nevada has established a Renewable Portfolio Standard for which NV Energy must meet specific solar electrical generation capacities every year through the year 2025. By calendar year 2025, not less than 25 percent (%) of the total amount of electricity sold by NV Energy to its retail customers in Nevada must be from renewable energy sources. Nevada’s renewable portfolio standard further requires that through 2015, 5% of all electricity generated by NV Energy in the state must come from solar power, with the requirement increasing to 6% from 2016 through 2025. In addition, Senate Bill 123, which was codified by NRS 704.7311, Emission Reduction and Capacity Replacement plan with specific reference to NRS 704.7316(2)(b): the Emission Reduction and Capacity Replacement plan must provide for the construction or acquisition of, or contracting for, 350 MW of electric generating capacity from renewable energy facilities.”

NV Energy proposes to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission the project, consisting of up to a 130-MW (ac) solar photovoltaic facility on approximately 661 acres of BLM-administered land located within Parcels 5 and 6 of the Dry Lake SEZ. The major on-site facilities comprise solar array blocks of PV modules, a substation, and operation and maintenance (O&M) facilities. The off-site facilities include an approximate 2,000-foot, 230-kV generation tie transmission line (gen-tie line), access road, and electric distribution and communication lines. Power produced by the project would be conveyed to the Nevada Power bulk transmission system via the gen-tie line, which would interconnect to NV Energy’s existing Harry Allen Substation.

Incidentally, BLM in November issued a final EA on a a 500-kV AC single- or double-circut above-ground transmission line that would be 60 miles long within a 200-foot wide right-of-way. The Southern Nevada Intertie Project is in Clark County, and would potentially carry power from these three solar projects. The northern terminus would be at or near the Harry Allen Substation, with a southern terminus located at the existing Eldorado Substation located approximately 14 miles southwest of the city center of Boulder City, Nevada. The project is backed by Great Basin Transmission LLC, a subsidiary of LS Power Development LLC.

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.