Articles from Nevada
Last week, the Bureau of Land Management authorized the establishment of special offices in Wyoming and other Western states to expedite that renewable energy development on federal public lands. BLM officials said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne issued a Secretarial Order on Friday that will allow the agency to establish coordination offices in Wyoming, Arizona, California and Nevada.
Storey County officials want the public to tell the federal government what it thinks about a plan to build windmills on mountains north of Carson City and west of Virginia City. ...Most of the project would be in the National Historic District and about half would be in the Comstock Historic District.
Two large utility companies have proposed building more than 150 wind turbines near Searchlight and more than 400 turbines in Lincoln County. These turbines ...would be placed near existing communities, where they would be visible to and affect the lives of all who live near them. Just a few questions for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is a strong proponent of these two unpopular projects:
The Washoe County Planning Commission late Tuesday night delayed until Feb. 4 deciding whether to grant permits for a wind farm that would put 44 turbines on the ridges of the Pah Rah Range east of Warm Springs Valley. The continuance came after a vote to reject the project and another vote to approve the Nevada Wind project failed. At the end of the four-hour hearing, all but Commmissioner Roy Hibdon voted for the delay so that "holes" in the project could be filled in. He had favored the $190 million project.
Alternative energy advocates and residents opposed to giant wind turbines overlooking their homes in Warm Springs Valley are expected to square off when Nevada Wind's proposed wind farm comes before the Washoe County Planning Commission on Tuesday. ...No matter what the planning commission decides, the project is expected to be appealed to the Washoe County Commission.
The current fiscal catastrophe in Nevada is being further damaged by the governor's office, which has given carte blanche to alternative wind energy limited liability companies to move into Nevada and game the tax credit system and then to follow tax subsidies that are solely funded by taxpayer money.
But the visibility issue had several Comstock-area residents questioning the project and its effect on the historic mining district. "This is a very special piece of real estate, and a very fragile piece of real estate," said Ron Reno, an archaeologist who lives in Silver City. "Right now, the landmark is officially listed as threatened. It can't absorb much else that alters the nature of this historical district." The question that is unanswered is just how visible these wind turbines will be from Virginia City.
Federal land managers said Monday they will gather public comment and assess the potential environmental impacts of a proposal to build dozens of wind-power turbines on the mountains north of Carson City and west of Virginia City.
Heidi Brautigam loves nothing better than horseback riding in Warm Springs Valley, where she has lived for 17 years. But she is worried her rides could become dangerous once big tractor rigs and construction trucks start hauling equipment and materials to build Nevada Wind's proposed wind turbine farm on the northern ridges overlooking the valley, north of Spanish Springs.
Little has been said about the transmission lines, which will carry the intermittent power produced by the looming mountaintop monsters down to the Tracy power plant. These are high-voltage transmission lines hanging off of 70-foot-tall, rusted-steel towers. In the years to come, such transmission lines will crisscross our valley, wind down narrow canyon roads and march somberly along property lines to their final destination.
Lincoln County Commissioners, during their regular meeting November 10, said they were not opposed to the development of wind-generated power in the County, but would rather seek different locations than the ones being proposed. Mission Edison Group, a subsidiary of Southern California Edison, had approached the County about building wind generators on Mt. Wilson and Table Mountain, both a little north of Pioche. County Commissioners have said they do not think those locations are the best places for such large generators.
Officials of a company called Nevada Wind want to build $300 million worth of turbines above Warm Springs Valley in the Pah Rah Mountains, the first large wind farm in the state. ...County planners are reviewing Nevada Wind's recently submitted application for a special-use permit. John Berkich, assistant county manager overseeing renewable energy initiatives, said he expects hearings would be held by the planning commission and county commission in the fall.
Residents weighed the greenness of wind power with the amount of visual pollution that the tall towering structures could bring to the popular 1860s-era tourist destination communities in the Comstock Historic District, designated a National Historic District. ...If placed on the ridge lines as the company proposes, the wind "turbines would be highly visible from Virginia City, Gold Hill and American Flat," [resident Ron] Reno said. Most of the wind turbine towers would be installed within the National Historic District and about half would in the Comstock Historic District.
Silver City residents expressed mixed reactions after learning recently of a proposed wind turbine project for the nearby ridge lines. Residents weighed the greenness of wind power with the amount of visual pollution that the tall towering structures could bring to the popular 1860s-era tourist destination communities in the Comstock Historic District, which is also designated a National Historic District. The proposed project would also affect the views of people living in Washoe Valley. Great Basin Wind, LLC's new Comstock project was discussed during the September Silver City Town Board meeting's public comment segment.
Just as new wind power plans are being announced around Nevada, the state's counties are seeking power to kill such projects. ...It was the Wilson and Table mountains project that aroused county officials. A supposed threat to the habitat for deer and elk has hunters concerned, and hikers are upset for aesthetic reasons. Damage to the land when construction gear and material is hauled up the mountains would be repaired, sponsors of the project said, but not everyone accepted those assurances.
According to Sierra Pacific Power Co. spokesman Fay Anderson, there are several locations in Nevada being studied for wind-generated electricity projects, the farthest along outside of the Virginia Range project being in Elko County. There also are projects proposed for Lincoln, Clark and White Pine counties. ...
Hamilton is proposing a wind turbine farm on Bureau of Land Management property along the ridgeline of the Virginia Range, just east of Washoe Valley and west of Virginia City. The 72 turbines would be placed where the wind is strongest, beginning at McClellan Peak and extending northward to Geiger Summit, touching Carson City, Washoe County and Storey County. The whirlwind, if it comes, could be from officials and residents of Storey County, especially the Comstock Historic District, who aren't crazy about modern wind turbines being in view of the 1860s-era communities of Virginia City, Gold Hill and Silver City.
When power developers announced plans for coal plants in the Nevada desert, it was clear which side conservation groups would be on: the opposition. Less clear was how they would react when solar developers announced they would build huge arrays in that same desert. Because although renewable energy is the darling of the environmental movement - hailed as a cure for our addiction to fossil fuels - solar and other clean power plants can still be hard on the birds and bunnies trying to survive in their shadows. "Just because it's green doesn't mean ... it doesn't have impacts," said Kathleen Drakulich, a Nevada attorney with clients who develop renewable energy and more traditional fossil fuel power plants.
Before Nevada can become the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy, it will have to come to peace with the hunters in Lincoln County. In that rural stretch north of Las Vegas, county commissioners oppose plans to blanket four mountaintops with enough tall wind energy turbines to power 250,000 homes. Nothing against a wind farm, the elected officials say, they just don't want windmills atop prime elk and deer habitat where families have come for generations to hunt on federal lands. The dispute is opening a new front in the cultural and environmental wars in the West.
The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday announced it took the first step to approve right of way for the first direct transmission line between Southern Nevada and Northern Nevada electrical grids. Great Basin Transmission, an affiliate of independent power producer LS Power, received a final environmental assessment from BLM, finding "no significant impact" resulting from the transmission line.