Library from Nevada
"The Searchlight Wind project area is next to a national recreation area and has the highest concentrations of desert tortoises and golden eagle nests in Nevada," said Dave Becker, a Portland, Ore.-based lawyer representing the two groups and three residents challenging the project. "It's a stupid place for a wind project." But more than that, Becker said, the order exposes what he calls BLM's rush, at least in the first few years of the Obama administration, to approve commercial-scale renewables projects on federal lands.
Judge Du found that environmental analyses prepared by the BLM and USFWS inadequately evaluated the dangers that the industrial-scale wind project would pose to desert wildlife. She cited data missing from the agency surveys, inadequate assessment of potential threats to golden eagles, desert tortoises, and bats, and the need for additional explanation of the agencies’ conclusions.
The U.S. District Court in Nevada has ordered that the federal Record of Decision, Final Environmental Impact Statement, and Biological Opinion issued on APEX Energy's Searchlight Wind project be vacated. A brief background is provided below. The vacate order can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The utility says the credit — which amounts to around 6 cents per kilowatt-hour — is an unfair burden on nonsolar customers. The utility currently caps participation in the program to 3 percent of its peak generating demand, which is 7,500 megawatts (a Super Walmart consumes around three-quarters of a megawatt per year). The utility says ratepayers will pay $8 million for every percentage point the cap increases.
Legislatively mandated renewable portfolio rules are already costing ratepayers millions of dollars and thousands of jobs, according to a previous Beacon Hill study that NPRI commissioned and released. All these losses come because the State of Nevada has told its energy utility that it may no longer use energy sources that have served consumers for decades and must instead replace them with more socially acceptable technologies.
On February 3, 2015, Judge Du had ordered BLM to prepare a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on eagles due to inadequate surveys. In 2011, surveys funded by BLM found twenty-eight golden eagle nests within 10 miles of the project site, many more than the three nests the developer reported in its flawed avian surveys.
Apex Clean Energy has agreed to curtail production at the proposed 200MW Searchlight wind project in south-east Nevada to protect operations at the US Navy’s China Lake base in California.
Conservationists are calling for regulatory action after the death of a second golden eagle in three years at a White Pine County wind farm that sells power to NV Energy. The body of the federally protected bird was found Feb. 9 near one of the massive turbines at the Spring Valley Wind Energy ...Operators of the wind farm reported the death to federal regulators and collected the juvenile bird’s carcass for further examination by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
A wind energy facility in eastern Nevada killed its second golden eagle in January, and environmentalists are demanding action from the federal government to prevent more eagle deaths there.
Last week, a federal district court in Nevada ruled that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to adequately explain a decision to authorize a proposed wind energy project. The court remanded the decision to BLM for analysis the court determined to be absent from the administrative record and ordered the agency to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS).
In this important decision by the federal district court in Nevada, Judge Miranda M. Du found that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) did not sufficiently explain their decision to authorize the Searchlight Wind Energy Project (87 turbines) proposed on land south of Las Vegas, Nevada. The court remanded the decision to BLM for analysis and ordered the agency prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) to address new information regarding the presence of golden eagles within the project area. Concerns regarding the impact of blasting on desert tortoises were also cited. The full decision can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Lame-duck Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid soon will lose control of a chamber he has helmed for eight years. As the sun sets on his reign, one question remains: will Reid, D-Nev., go out with bang or a whimper? The answer to that question could depend on what Congress decides to do about one of Reid’s favorite corporate subsidies: the wind production tax credit.
The Ivanpah solar generating plant is located in California about 50 miles from Las Vegas near the California-Nevada border. 173,000 mirrors are used to concentrate the sun on 3 boiler-towers where water is turned into steam to drive turbines and generate electricity. The mirrors track the sun and concentrate sunlight so that the intensity of light falling on the boiler-towers is about 500 times stronger than sunlight -- a death ray. If a person were to be illuminated by this death ray, 3rd degree burns would follow within a few seconds. Insects that wander into the kill zone are quickly vaporized. Birds are severely burned or killed depending on how long they are in the kill zone. An aerial view is below. Only one tower was operating when the photo was taken.
The number of bats killed by wind turbines at the Spring Valley Wind Farm in 2014 has been reduced by more than 75 percent compared to the same time frame last year.
The 152-megawatt Spring Valley Wind Energy project about 260 miles northeast of Las Vegas killed an estimated 566 bats in 2013, so its operator agreed to change when the windmills kick on in hopes of reducing the number of deaths.
In April, attorneys filed in U.S. District Court of Nevada a lawsuit (Searchlight suit) accusing former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of acting in “a manner that is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law” when he granted permission for construction of an 87-turbine wind farm east of Searchlight on 19,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land. The suit alleges the Final Environmental Impact Statement, on which Salazar based his approval, was written by consultants for Searchlight Wind Energy, which is owned by Duke Energy. The suit says the FEIS is a one-sided and an incomplete portrait of the project’s adverse environmental impacts.
The company has not found a buyer for the wind energy but has been negotiating with NV Energy and electric companies in California. A spokesman for the company said the project would not be built until it obtains contracts for the power.
BLM's preferred alternative would take the line across the agency-managed Sunrise Mountain Instant Study Area east of Las Vegas. The 10,240-acre ISA is a popular hiking destination and includes Gypsum Cave, which BLM says holds some of the earliest evidence of human inhabitance in the western United States. Running the line though Sunrise Mountain "may entail congressional legislation modifying the designation," according to the draft EIS.
Earlier this month, attorneys filed in U.S. District Court of Nevada what we will call for the sake of brevity Bundorf v. Salazar. (Searchlight wind suit) The suit accuses former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of acting in "a manner that is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law" when he granted permission for construction of an 87-turbine wind farm east of Searchlight on 19,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land.
Plaintiffs charge that the project, to be built by Duke Energy, would (in the words of the suit) "pose significant adverse harm to a wide array of sensitive and protected species ... including desert tortoise, golden eagles, bald eagles, and residential and migratory birds and bats... through direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts" which weren't adequately addressed.