BLM issues leases for huge solar development along US95 in Nye County

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — NV Energy is paying more than $80 million to lease about 7,200 acres in Nye County to develop a solar energy project south of U.S. 95 southeast of Beatty.

Two parcels — one 3,775 acres for $35.25 million and a second of 3,451 acres for $46.6 million — were part of a record-setting auction in June. The parcels make up the prime acreage in the Amargosa Valley Solar Energy Zone.

Overall, four parcels of a combined 23,675 acres brought high bids totaling $105.15 million. The combined output of all four parcels “could support nearly 3 gigawatts of renewable energy to the electrical grid,” an Interior Department news release said in June.

It was the “highest-yielding onshore renewable energy auction in agency history,” according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

BLM announced Wednesday it has issued two leases, allowing the utility-grade project to proceed. “This is a major milestone in contributing to a clean energy economy that will also create jobs and local revenue for our communities,” BLM Nevada State Director Jon Raby said.

Developers now must submit a development plan for BLM review before any construction can begin.

The zone is southeast of Beatty and northwest of Big Dune, about 110 miles northwest of Las Vegas on U.S. 95.

“About 38 square miles of good burrowing owl and kit fox habitat will be bulldozed,” a Thursday statement by Basin & Range Watch said on social media.

The land is along the proposed route of the Greenlink transmission line project, which will carry electricity generated by enormous solar farms that are in preconstruction phases between Las Vegas and Reno. The four largest projects in the nation are in Nevada, with three in Esmeralda County. The largest of those projects has a target of producing 1.5 gigawatts.

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