(Image Credit: Wikimedia)
Recently the Obama administration approved a record breaking 350 megawatt solar project on tribal land. The massive solar project will be constructed on 2,000 acres of the Moapa Band Paiute Indians in Clark County, Nevada. Inhabiting about 3% of the tribe’s land, the project will be owned by the tribe and operated by K Road Power Holdings, LLC (K Road). The tribe plans on running a 500-kilovolt transmission line to a grid and a 12 kilovolt transmission line to the Moapa Travel Plaza (renewableenergyworld.com).
The plaza is home to a casino, coffee shop, gas station, convenient store, and fireworks store. The company believes they will create 400 construction jobs during the installation process and around 20 permanent jobs in the future. This specific project is expected to be finished by 2014.
K Road’s other Projects
K Road is also in the process of building a 663 megawatt Calico solar plant project in the Pisgah Valley in Southern California. A three billion dollar investment, its purpose is to provide a viable energy source for 35,000 households in California (businesswire.com). It is in the development process at the moment and has gone through a series of revisions, even changing hands at one point after K Road acquired the project from Tessera Solar North America, Inc.
One revision dropped the project down from 850 megawatts to its current size. K Road believed it would make the project more environmentally safe by creating a corridor for desert tortoises reducing the available land from 8,230 acres to 4,613 acres, vicariously affecting the project’s scope.
K Road recently purchased a 25-megawatt solar power project from SunPower Corp. in Modesto, California (ecoseed.org). During the development stage, the McHenry Solar Project is planned to power and approximately 6,000 households in the future (ecoseed.org).
Some environmentalists believe the Calico Solar project will hurt the ecological environment in the area. The plant is located in an area where bighorn sheep, golden eagles, desert tortoises, and many other creatures call home.
The site is not a paradise in the desert though. Interstate 40 runs across its border along with a transmission line, roads, railroads, and gas pipelines lacing through the property as well.
The ability for solar projects to inhabit Native American land dramatically increases the possibility of solar power options in the future. The Obama administration has been working on developing large scale solar projects in general since 2009. They have approved six wind farms, eight geothermal plants, a 7,200 megawatt pipeline, and seventeen solar projects to date. Let’s hope we see more movement in the direction of sustainable energy.
K Road Holdings also acquired the McHenry solar project in Modesto California