Library from Nevada
A land battle is brewing at the site of what could be Nevada's newest national monument, Avi Kwa Ame.
With the nation’s only operational lithium mine and a second, large-scale production set for spring construction, Nevada is at the forefront of the push toward green energy production.
Judge Karen Owens last week approved a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization by Tonopah Solar Energy, which operated the Crescent Dunes solar plant in Nevada that received $737 million in guaranteed loans from the federal government. ...DOE expected Crescent Dunes to produce up to 482,000 megawatt hours every year, but the plant hasn’t produced that much energy in its lifetime.
The Crescent Dunes failure shows again what happens when government invests in commercial ventures beyond its expertise for political purposes. Scarce resources are misallocated and taxpayers lose. We wish we could say the politicians have learned from failure, but the Biden Administration is coming to town promising much more of the same.
In 2011 the $1 billion project was to be the biggest solar plant of its kind, and it looked like the future of renewable power. Citigroup Inc. and other financiers invested $140 million with its developer, SolarReserve Inc. Steven Chu, the U.S. Department of Energy secretary at the time, offered the company government loan guarantees, and Harry Reid, then the Senate majority leader and senior senator from Nevada, cleared the way for the company to build on public land. ...SolarReserve may have done its part, but today the company doesn’t rank among the winners. Instead, it’s mired in litigation and accusations of mismanagement at Crescent Dunes, where taxpayers remain on the hook for $737 million in loan guarantees.
"This project has consistently faced technical failures that have proven difficult to overcome," Hynes said, adding that the department's decision was made "after years of exhausting options within our authority to get the project back on track, given the significant taxpayer investment the prior administration committed to this project." DOE is currently owed about $425 million, with the last payment made in July 2013.
SolarReserve doesn’t rank among the winners. Instead, it’s mired in litigation and accusations of mismanagement at Crescent Dunes, where taxpayers remain on the hook for $737 million in loan guarantees. Late last year, Crescent Dunes lost its only customer, NV Energy Inc., which cited the plant’s lack of reliability. It’s a victim, ironically, of the solar industry’s success over the past decade.
NV Energy notified the plant in June that it was terminating its power contract because it “failed to produce the requisite energy levels required,” the complaint says. NV Energy’s grace period after defaulting on the contract ended Thursday. The lawsuit was filed in court one day earlier. An NV Energy spokesperson, in response to questions on Friday, said that the state’s largest utility was “following the terms and conditions of our contract expressly with this action.”
“I’d say public land plays a huge role in the furthering of renewable energy,” David Bobzien, who runs Gov. Steve Sisolak’s Office of Energy, said during an interview this week. But siting a project can be costly and challenging in the face of balancing the disturbances of development with public access, wildlife and recreation. The tension can often split allies.
Federal regulators have knocked the wind out of another renewable energy project planned for the desert west of Searchlight. The Bureau of Land Management has decided to reject a Sweden-based energy company’s application to build more than 200 turbines, each the height of a skyscraper, along a 22-mile stretch of the Nevada-California border.
The US Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued this official letter denying Eolus North American's application for a right-of-way to construct and operate a wind energy facility with up to 106 wind turbines spanning approximately 32,000 acres of public lands in southern Nevada. The letter describes in detail the reasons for the denial. The summation of the letter is provided below. The full letter can be downloaded from this page.
As part of its review process to determine whether to approve an application to allow construction of wind turbines on 32,000 acres of public land in Nevada adjacent to the California border just west of Searchlight, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducted a series of scoping meetings to allow public input. At a recent meeting in Las Vegas a half dozen speakers largely expressed support for renewable energy but not on the proposed site.
A proposed wind project was hit with a gale of opposition Monday, as the Bureau of Land Management hosted the first of four meetings on the massive renewable energy project.
Want to know why renewable energy remains controversial, despite widespread agreement that it is vital for our future? The answer is location, location, location.
Opposition to a new “clean” energy project near Searchlight is coming from an unlikely source — environmentalists.
Since the project is located on the California border and next to a major transmission line, the power generated there, if ever, is likely to flow into California to slake its legislatively mandated renewable energy portfolio of 50 percent renewables by 2030. All Nevada will get is the bird chopping eyesore.
Less than a year after plans were dropped for a controversial wind farm near Searchlight, an even larger and more contentious project in the same area is advancing through the permitting process.
In vetoing the higher renewable standard, Sandoval said “Although the promise of AB206 is commendable, its adoption is premature in the face of evolving energy policy in Nevada." He cited concerns including potential impacts to ratepayers and other changes in Nevada energy laws, such as the Energy Choice Initiative.
The purchase approval by the council does not guarantee the wind power to Columbia because the Missouri Public Service Commission has not yet approved construction of the main means of transporting the energy, the Grain Belt Express Clean Line. Columbia Water and Light Assistant Director Ryan Williams said the agreement doesn't hinge on the delivery of the power.
According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Las Vegas Field Office, the agency is now in the process of closing the application for the project, 18 months after a federal judge voided the federal approvals for the project because of the likely harm to desert tortoises and golden eagles.