First Solar’s 332-MW Fort Mojave project in Arizona ready for enviro review

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), as lead agency, intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will evaluate a 332-MW photovoltaic (PV) solar project on the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation in Mohave County, Arizona.

BIA said in a notice to be published in the April 11 Federal Register that associated transmission lines and substations located on tribal trust lands, federal lands administered and managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), state-administered lands, and county and private lands in neighboring Clark County, Nevada, will also be evaluated.

This April 11 notice will announce the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public comment and identify potential issues related to the EIS. Scoping comments will be taken for 30 days after April 11.

The proposed federal action covered by the EIS is BIA’s approval of a solar energy ground lease and associated agreements entered into by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe with Tribal Solar LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Solar. If approved, these documents would allow the construction and operation of an up-to 332 MW (ac) facility located entirely on the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation and specifically on lands held in trust by the United States for the tribe.

The proposed generation-tie transmission lines and substations required for interconnection would be located on tribal trust lands, federal lands administered and managed by BLM and BOR, state-administered lands, and county and private lands in Clark County. The BIA and BLM would additionally approve right-of-ways (ROWs) authorizing the construction and operation of the transmission line and other supporting facilities, as needed.

The proposed solar energy facility would be located on approximately 2,800 acres of tribal trust lands leased from the tribe out of a total of approximately 3,600 acres available under an option for lease. These lands are currently used for agriculture.

The solar energy facility would include PV panels, power inverters and transformers, a 34.5 kV collection system either overhead or underground, a substation, an operations and maintenance building with parking, meteorology towers, security fencing and lighting, and other on-site facilities as required.

The project would interconnect into the existing Mohave 500-kV Switchyard located near the town of Laughlin, Nevada. As proposed, an approximately 18-mile 230-kV single- or multiple-circuit line would be built to a new 230/500-kV substation, which would be located next to/near the Mohave 500-kV Switchyard. Here, the voltage would be stepped up to 500 kV and then a short single- or multiple-circuit 500-kV line would be built from the 230/500-kV substation to connect to the Mohave 500-kV Switchyard.

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.