Library from Nevada
Across the U.S., more than 800 utility-scale solar projects are under contract to generate nearly 70,000 megawatts of new capacity ...More than half this capacity is being planned for the American Southwest, with its abundance of sunshine and open land. These large projects are increasingly drawing opposition from environmental activists and local residents who say they are ardent supporters of clean energy. Their objections range from a desire to keep the land unspoiled to protection for endangered species to concerns that their views would no longer be as beautiful.
A fleet of consulting desert tortoise biologists have been sweeping the 3,000-acre Yellow Pine Solar Project site near Pahrump with shovels to move as many protected desert tortoises out of harm’s way as possible before the site is converted to millions of solar panels, according to the press release by Basin and Range Watch, a nonprofit working to conserve the deserts of Nevada and California.
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 the case of Yellow Pine Solar, Emmerich said the land where it is likely going to be built is home to Mojave yucca and desert tortoise, which is a threatened species. “The Yellow Pine area is on some really pristine public lands that contain a lot of the traditional, what I like to call, old-growth Mojave Desert areas,” he said. Emmerich described the area as an "unbroken desert landscape." In addition, it is along the Tecopa Road, which is a road that tourists use to travel between Death Valley and Las Vegas.
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.