Area geothermal projects moved to BLM’s fast track | NevadaAppeal.com

Area geothermal projects moved to BLM’s fast track

John Seelmeyer
Northern Nevada Business Weekly

Three geothermal plants proposed for construction in northern Nevada and a transmission line that would deliver the power that geothermal plants produce have been marked as priorities by the Bureau of Land Management.

The agency said last week it will work to expedite environmental and other review of the projects so they come to reality as quickly as possible. BLM Director Bob Abbey said full environmental review still be undertaken, but the priority designation marks an attempt by the BLM to focus its manpower and other resources on promising renewable energy projects.

The priority designation is given renewable energy projects that are far enough along in the permitting process that the BLM expects to complete them in 2011.

The projects moved onto the BLM fast track include:

• Coyote Canyon, a 62-megawatt geothermal plant proposed by Terra-Gen Power LLC in Churchill County, about 65 miles northeast of Fallon. (Within days after the project was placed on BLM’s fast track, the BLM’s Carson City office approved the environmental assessment report on the project.)

• A 40-megawatt geothermal plant proposed by Ormat Technologies of Reno in the Salt Wells area at the edge of the Lahontan Mountains southeast of Fallon.

• A 120-megawatt geo-thermal plant proposed by Gradient Resources of Reno, also in the Salt Wells area of Churchill County.

• A transmission system to be built by NV Energy at Salt Wells to deliver the power produced by geothermal plants in the area. The 230-kilovolt transmission line would require the additional construction of two switching stations and a substation.

The three projects in the Salt Wells area currently are undergoing environmental review with a March 28 deadline for public comments about a first draft.