Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on Wednesday signed the “Record of Decisioin” or ROD giving the go-ahead to the 200-megawatt Searchlight Wind Project east of Highway 95 in Searchlight. If built, it would be the second utility-scale wind farm on public land in Nevada.
“I commend Secretary Salazar and the Obama Administration for their commitment to a clean energy future and work to prioritize the development of renewable energy resources on public lands throughout the West,” Sen. Harry Reid had some staffer write on his behalf. “Nevada is fortunate that its sunny skies, strong winds, and geothermal resources provides us an opportunity to brighten our economic future and transform the Silver State into the vibrant core of a Western and national clean energy market. I will continue to support and facilitate efforts that help to identify the best locations for utility scale renewable energy projects to be sited on federal lands and will closely monitor the progress on this and the other clean energy projects in Nevada.”
According to the Las Vegas newspaper, the project would create about 275 jobs during construction and 15 full- and part-time permanent jobs. It is projected to generate $19 million in local property and sales tax revenue, the project’s parent company, Duke Energy, which just forgave $10 million in debt to the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte, N.C., is notorious for fighting local tax valuations.
The project does not have a power purchase agreement with any purchaser and NV Energy has said it needs no more power at this time. The project also must break ground during the calendar year to qualify for a production tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Searchlight is home to bald and gold eagles, which are frequent victims of those 300-foot turbine blades, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Interior or Harry.
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