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Over 6 gigawatts of solar and energy storage proposed in Esmeralda County area

The Bureau of Land Management is planning a pair of public meetings on plans surrounding several utility-scale solar projects and energy storage projects in Esmeralda County.

The BLM will host two virtual public meetings on Wednesday and Thursday on seven proposed projects (six applicants) totaling over 6.3 gigawatts of solar and energy storage in the Esmeralda County area.

“In support of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to permit 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands by 2025 and to achieve 100 percent carbon pollution-free energy by 2035, the Bureau of Land Management will host two virtual public meetings to discuss proposed solar and energy storage projects on Wednesday, Sept. 8, and Thursday, Sept. 9,” the BLM’s release states.

“Six applicants have requested right-of-way grants to construct, operate and decommission seven solar projects on public lands,” the BLM said in a release.

The proposed projects, if approved, would be in the vicinity of the proposed 525-kilovolt GreenLink West transmission line, set to run through portions of Nye and Esmeralda counties, along with other areas of the state, according to information on the BLM’s website. The projects would also be in the vicinity of a proposed Esmeralda Substation —documents from the state of Nevada show that the proposed substation will be west of Tonopah and south of Highway 6, near Millers Solar Energy Zone.

BLM states, “The purpose of these public meetings is to provide information on the proposed projects and to solicit public input which will be incorporated into applications for variance approval as required by the Solar Energy Development Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision.”

Topics to be discussed during the public meetings include an overview of the projects and their size, capacity, structure, timeline and environmental concerns that are known.

Proposed projects

  • The Esmeralda Solar Energy Center Project is being proposed by NextEra Energy Resources and includes 500 megawatts of solar generation and energy storage on 8,804 acres of public lands.
  • Invenergy is proposing a 500-megawatt solar and energy storage project on 8,635 acres of public lands for its Nivloc Solar Energy Project.
  • The Smoky Valley Solar Project could encompass 1,000 megawatts on 5,128 acres of public lands. The company proposing that project is ConnectGen.
  • 8minute Solar Energy is proposing two 600-megawatt solar and energy storage projects on over 11,000 acres of public lands.
  • The proposed Gold Dust Solar project by Arevia Power would include a 1,500-megawatt solar photovoltaic and 1,000 MW battery energy storage project on 17,018 acres of public lands in Esmeralda County.
  • The proposed Esmeralda Solar Project by Leeward Renewable Energy would encompass 8,700 acres of public lands and 650 megawatts of solar energy storage.

In total, the projects would cover over 59,000 acres.

The Wednesday meeting is planned to occur from 6:30-7:30 p.m. and can be accessed at https://dudek.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_IJ-u4KhFRbSqNLEFzOE6Wg or by calling 866-807-9684, and then ask to be connected to the Pine Nut and Mason Valley call.

The Thursday meeting is scheduled to run from 6:30-7:30 p.m. and can be accessed at https://bit.ly/3zSaTKb or by calling 669-900-6833 or 929-205-6099 and passcode 971-8284-4088. This will connect to the Esmeralda Solar Variance Projects meeting.

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