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$120 million Nevada solar project to break ground soon

By Michelle Cook Nevada News Group
From left, Con Edison Development Senior Manager Lisa Briggs; Loon LLC Program Manager Jeff Neri; and Lithium Nevada Corporation CEO Alexi Zawadzki speak at the Jan. 30 Winnemucca Futures forum. Briggs spoke about the $120 million Battle Mountain Solar Project that will break ground this summer.
Ashley Maden / Nevada News Group

WINNEMUCCA — Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) is expected to break ground on its $120 million Battle Mountain Solar Project in rural Northern Nevada in either June or July.

“Con Ed is getting ready to break ground on their project over off the Mote and Valmy area,” Jan Morrison, Economic Development Officer for Northern Nevada Rural Development Authority and Humboldt Development Authority, announced at HDA’s May 20 meeting. “If you remember, that’s called the Battle Mountain Solar Project, although it is all in Humboldt County.”

Morrison told the HDA trustees she has been working with Con Edison officials to acquire housing and short-term meal service for construction workers.

The company estimates construction will last 15 months and will require 240 full-time construction workers, 133 of whom will be Nevada residents due to a project requirement that at least 50% of workers be Nevadans.

All told, those employees would earn about $1 million in wages over the course of construction, Morrison said. Estimated sales tax generated from construction is approximately $4 million.

At the Winnemucca Futures conference in January, Lisa Briggs, Government Affairs Manager for Con Edison’s Development Division, discussed plans to build the solar-generating operation near Valmy — located a half-hour or so southeast of Winnemucca — marking the New York-based company’s first project in the Silver State.

“This is a $120 million capital investment and we’re excited to be here,” she said Jan. 30.

Once the plant becomes operational in 2021 (assuming no delays), Con Edison will look for three full-time employees who may have had experience working at gas plants, coal plants, nuclear plants or with a background in electrical engineering.

Estimated monthly payroll for those positions is approximately $240,000.

According to documents filed with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, the Battle Mountain Solar Project (BMSP) would generate 100 megawatts and store energy in a group of 25 megawatt batteries.

NV Energy documents say the project’s 25MW of battery capacity will be the nation’s largest DC-coupled combined solar and battery storage system.

A power purchasing agreement was executed with NV Energy on May 14, 2018, which was eventually approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada en route to this summer’s construction.

The project will be added to NV Energy’s current portfolio of approximately 50 solar, geothermal, hydro, wind, biomass and supported rooftop solar projects.

“We’re talking a couple of sections of land and we still have two other major projects in that Valmy area,” Morrison said last month. “Those types of projects will give Winnemucca and the county a huge shot in the (economic) arm.”