Secretary of Interior flips switch to solar farm built on public land

Primm, Nevada, May 8, 2012 – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar flipped the switch on the Enbridge Silver State North solar project, the first large-scale solar energy facility on U.S. public lands to deliver power to American consumers.

Prior to 2009, there were no solar energy projects permitted on public lands. Interior has since authorized 29 large-scale renewable energy projects on public lands, including 16 solar facilities, 5 wind farms and 8 geothermal plants. When completed, these projects will provide more than 6,500 MW of power to communities across the West, enough to power more than 2 million homes.

Located 40 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada, Silver State North is a 50-MW plant that will use photovoltaic technology to generate enough power for about 9,000 Nevada homes.

Developed by First Solar and owned by Enbridge, the project employed more than 380 construction workers during peak construction and 650 individuals over the course of the project. NV Energy has a power purchase agreement to sell the solar project’s electricity to the Nevada market.

By harnessing the area’s solar resources, the Silver State North facility generates electricity with no air emissions, no waste production, and no water use. The plant, using technology with the smallest carbon footprint of any PV solar system, displaces about 42,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. The project site is strategically located near a major transmission hub.

Constructed on 618 acres of public land managed by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, the solar project underwent full environmental analysis and public review. The BLM worked closely with federal, state and local partners, members of the environmental and conservation community, and interested stakeholders to protect wildlife and advance this environmentally sound project.

The Bureau of Land Management oversees more than 2.5 million acres in Clark County, Nevada, including over 1.1 million acres managed for conservation. This includes over 709,000 acres of habitat the BLM has designated primarily for the conservation of the threatened desert tortoise.

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