A draft regional mitigation strategy for the 25,069-acre Dry Lake Valley North Solar Energy Zone in Lincoln County has been released by the Bureau of Land Management.
A final workshop session regarding the project was held at the end of February in Las Vegas.
BLM is now asking for public review and comment concerning the draft strategy. A website has been provided during the comment period between now and Aug. 14 at http://on.doi.gov/1frnwSM.
The draft strategy builds on the success of the Dry Lake SEZ regional mitigation strategy pilot project, which provided developers with certainty regarding the cost of mitigation and ensured that residual impacts of solar projects in the SEZ would be addressed through off site mitigation. The strategy was integral to the recent permitting success of the Dry Lake SEZ, enabling three solar energy projects to be permitted within 10 months of the competitive lease sale, about half the time of previous reviews. The projects are expected to generate between 440 MW of solar power and create up to 1,900 jobs.
BLM notes the Dry Lake Valley North SEZ is the largest of the five energy zones in Nevada and, when completed could produce ups to 4,000 MW of renewable energy. Located about 15 miles west of Pioche and 15 miles northwest of Caliente, it is framed by the North Pahroc Range on the west, and the West Range, Bristol Range, Highland Range, Ely Springs Range, Black Canyon Range on Burnt Springs Range to the east.
In all, there are 17 SEZ in six western states, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. If fully built, projects within the designated zones could produce as much as 23,700 megawatts of solar energy, sufficient to serve approximately 7 million homes. The SEZ program also provides for solar development on about 19 million acres outside the zones or within so-called “variance zones,” on a case-by-case basis. The program includes a framework for regional mitigation plans and excludes nearly 79-million acres of public lands deemed inappropriate for solar development to protect key natural and cultural resources.
Lincoln County Power District No. 1 is creating their own small solar generating facility across from Cathedral Gorge State Park on Highway 93, but that will be only be for subscription customers of LCPD, and and neither will have any effect on the other. have no effect on the Dry Lake project. Manager Dave Luttrell said, “We’re small scale, compared to their big scale.”