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Chinese energy company seeks more county land for ‘eco-city’

Image

Justin Bowen

Laughlin and Bullhead City, Ariz., as seen in 2011.

Updated Monday, Sept. 19, 2011 | 5:16 p.m.

The Chinese energy company seeking to build a massive solar energy plant and solar-cell factory near Laughlin wants more land for the project.

ENN Mojave Energy Corp. wants all 9,000 acres of available Clark County land about 12 miles south of Laughlin, not 5,400 acres as first reported in June.

When ENN’s plans were announced, the company said the development would create 2,000 long-term manufacturing jobs paying on average $72,000 a year. The total construction cost for the solar-cell plant, industrial park and solar-energy farm was projected to be in the range of $4 billion to $6 billion.

Officials hoped construction would begin on the solar-cell plant late this year or in early 2012, with solar cells being produced by March 2013 and the first phase of the solar farm operating by March 2014.

The company’s representatives have told Commissioner Steve Sisolak, whose district includes Laughlin, the addition of 3,600 acres would be used to build an “eco-city” at the site. The goal is a self-sustaining city with renewable energy generation and manufacturing as the primary source of employment for its residents.

“They have something like it near Beijing,” Sisolak said.

Working with Duke Energy, the third-largest electric power holding company in the United States, ENN Group intends to a build a future-energy development in Langfang, about 30 miles southeast of Beijing. The two companies signed an agreement to develop eco-cities in January. Duke Energy has said it would like to use the cleaner technologies in the United States.

Sisolak also said ENN wants to purchase, not lease, all 9,000 acres of county land. That could be a sticking point with some county commissioners who have expressed reservations about selling the land.

Representatives for ENN Group could not be reached for comment.

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