Nevada Copper teams with NV Energy to explore 500 MW of solar development

Nevada Copper Corp. (TSX: NCU) announced Feb. 11 that it has entered into an agreement with Nevada utility NV Energy to conduct a study of the potential to develop a solar power project on Nevada Copper’s privately-owned land.

This land is adjacent to the company’s proposed Pumpkin Hollow copper development project. Nevada Copper expects this study to be completed within three months. Subject to the results of the study, the parties would have an opportunity to enter into an agreement to pursue a solar development opportunity. After a 90-day exclusivity period, if no development agreement has been mutually agreed after good-faith efforts, Nevada Copper will be free to solicit interest from other parties.

Giulio Bonifacio, the CEO of Nevada Copper, said: “Nevada Copper is very interested in developing solar energy on its project area, both to supply power to the mine, and to deliver power to the grid. This presents another significant opportunity that is the direct result of the successful passage of the land bill which was signed into law by President Obama and resulted in receipt of all permits to construct a mine.

“Additionally the current zoning of these private lands owned by the Company allows for solar development and has no environmental or engineering constraints. The Solar Study will provide site-specific evaluation of the solar potential on our lands at no cost to the Company and will prove beneficial in all discussions regarding future development of the solar development opportunity. Initial investigations indicate the potential for up to 500 MW of solar generation on our project landholdings surplus to our mining needs.”

Nevada Copper successfully collaborated with the city of Yerington and Lyon County in 2015 to implement the purchase of federal lands by the city. In October 2015, the city re-conveyed and deeded 9,145 acres to the company. The company’s private land surface rights now total 10,683 acres. With the completion of the land conveyance, Nevada Copper continues to advance financing discussions to support development of the Pumpkin Hollow copper project, while also considering other commercial and industrial development opportunities.

Depending on the ultimate scope of the Pumpkin Hollow copper mine development, the company estimates that 2,000-4,000 acres of land adjacent to, and outside of, the area of proposed mine facilities could be utilized for solar generation. Based on federal solar irradiation data, a 200-MW typical solar photovoltaic project in the Yerington area would require 1,600-2,000 acres of land. This implies a potential for up 500 MW of solar power development capacity. Evaluation of energy transmission options would be part of the solar study. Solar energy generated at the project could be used at the site and/or transmitted into the grid via existing high voltage transmission lines located east of the project area, or via other routes. A power line corridor connecting the project to transmission lines is part of the proposed copper project development plan and Nevada Copper acquired fee title to that land as part of the land conveyance.

The land proposed for solar development is privately owned by Nevada Copper and has been zoned M-1 Industrial by the City of Yerington. This zoning allows for solar development and has no environmental or engineering constraints for such a development. The land is also close proximity to federal and state highways and other infrastructure.

NV Energy provides a wide range of energy services to 1.3 million customers throughout Nevada and nearly 40 million tourists annually. NV Energy is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power, are doing business as NV Energy. The company is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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.