Las Vegas Sun

December 19, 2014

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Wind power facility proposed near Searchlight

BLM seeks comments for project on public land

A wind project with 156 generators is being planned for 24,383 acres of public land near Searchlight.

Bureau of Land Management realty specialist Mark Chandler said the bureau received the application a year ago for a proposal capable of producing 359 megawatts of electricity — enough to power roughly 90,000 households. The public is now being asked to comment on the project until Feb. 14 as the bureau develops an environmental impact statement.

"We still have to analyze for the desert tortoise, threatened and endangered plant species, the migratory bird issue," Chandler said. "Cultural issues we also have to look at."

Construction would begin in December 2010 at the earliest and would take two years.

The project was originally proposed by Catamount Energy, which was subsequently bought by Duke Energy, Chandler said. It is now under the name Searchlight Wind Energy.

It marks the second major wind project proposed on Southern Nevada land.

Another is slated for Table Mountain near the Ivanpah Valley, Chandler said, but its size is roughly half of the Searchlight Wind Energy project.

Chandler said the project came to be situated near U.S. 95 after wind speed, temperature and direction tests were done showing it was sufficient to produce power. The spot also lies near a power distribution line.

"Based on that testing they'll make a business decision —the consistency of the wind and the height characteristics," Chandler said.

Chandler said he did not yet know what population the generated power would serve.

Dave Clark can be reached at 990-2677 or [email protected].

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