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April 20, 2014

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Boulder City:

Step toward geothermic power plant gets nod

Boulder City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night that an area south of town is an appropriate place for a geothermic power plant.

A Las Vegas company last month proposed building its first plant near the Western Area Power Administration's substation on Buchanan Boulevard.

The council voted to initiate a change to its Land Management Plant so a land lease with Geothermic Solution LLC would be legal. The Land Management Plan is a working map of all accepted land uses in and around Boulder City. The land in the area being considered is not zoned and is in the federal historic district.

The company proposed the plant near the substation three-quarters of a mile from homes and just north of where the Boulder City Bypass would be built. The bypass is a highway road expected in 2025 to route interstate traffic south of town instead of through it.

With the amendment to the Land Management Plant in the works, the Planning Commission next month will make a recommendation about whether the area is suitable for geothermic power generation.

If the commission approves, the council will next month hold a public hearing and consider final approval of the map change.

The city would then commission an appraisal of the land and ask for requests for proposals.

Geothermic Solution LLC will propose a plant that would draw heat from dry rocks between four and six miles under the earth's surface, said Kirk Harrison, executive vice president and general council for Geothermic Solution. Geothermal plants differ from geothermic plants in that they draw heat from hot water in the earth's core.

The plant would look like a two-story building, make no sounds or smells or emit anything into the ground or air.

Councilman Travis Chandler, who has a doctorate in inorganic chemistry, said Geothermic Solution presented to him the plant's technical workings, and he was confident it would be safe.

The year-old company's $550 million plant would generate about 250 megawatts of energy, though that amount is subject to change, Harrison said.

Cassie Tomlin can be reached at 948-2073 or [email protected].

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