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October 26, 2014

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Solar energy project approved on tribal land near Las Vegas

The federal government on Thursday approved a massive 350-megawatt solar energy project to be built on land in Clark County belonging to the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians Tribe.

It would be the first utility-scale solar project on tribal lands.

The project, covering about 2,000 acres, would be located 30 miles north of Las Vegas and occupy about 3 percent of the tribe’s land, which is held in trust by the U.S. government.

The operation would generate enough electricity to power 100,000 homes, the Department of the Interior said in a statement.

“Tribal lands hold great renewable energy potential, and smart development of these resources has the power to strengthen tribal economies, create jobs and generate clean electricity for communities across Indian Country,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.

Construction of the solar field on the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians land will be handled by K Road Moapa Solar LLC.

The project is expected to generate 400 construction jobs and up to 20 permanent jobs, according to the Department of the Interior.

When finished, it will generate lease income for the tribe and connect its existing power infrastructure, lessening reliance on diesel-powered generators.

The project furthers the Obama administration’s efforts to accelerate the development of renewable energy projects on publicly-held lands.

Prior to 2009, no utility-scale projects were under development on public lands.

There are now 17 solar projects, six wind farms and eight geothermal plants under development, with the combined potential to power more than 2 million homes, according to the Department of the Interior.

In May, Salazar visited the 50-megawatt Enbridge Silver State North Solar Project in Primm, the first large solar project to begin operating on public lands.

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  1. The sooner we leave Oil and Nuclear behind - the better. We just need to make sure Prices are affordable as to not leave the population behind. I'm still in favor of getting "off the grid" by each one of us having affordable solar at home.

  2. If growth in wages had equaled growth in profits I think we would have less difficulty affording renewable energy.

    Costs keep climbing, but wages don't climb enough to approach anywhere near the costs. It is difficult for many to go off the grid, as much as they might like to.

    It hasn't always been like that, and we need to look for ways to rectify this situation or we will be left in an impossible situation for all in the long term.

    Perhaps it is too early to sign contracts on where the power goes. Maybe they have to build it before the power companies come.

  3. With NV Energy running the Reid Garnder coal fired plant that is causing problems for the Southern Paiutes, it will be interesting to see if they cut a deal to supply power to NV Energy in exchange for the closing of Reid Gardner.