As construction continues on the first solar project on Indian Territory, the Moapa Tribe of Paiute brokers a deal for a second solar array on their land. The project will offset some of the power lost when the Reid Coal Plant cuts 75% of its operations at the end of the year.
In an exciting continuation of the relationship between the Moapa Tribe of Paiute and solar, the Moapa have ageed to build an additional solar array on their land. This second array will benefit the state of Nevada. It is expected to provide 200 MW of electricity, enough to power 60,000 homes.
The first array will provide energy to Los Angeles, powering more than 93,000 homes there.
The new plant, expected to be complete by October 2016, may provide the begining of a more positive relationship between the tribe and NV Energy. The utility has filed a proposal with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to shutter three of four units at the Reid Gardner Generating Station located near the Moapa land. That coal-burning power plant is expected to be completey closed by the end of 2017, as part of NV Energy’s plan to be completety coal-free within five years. The Moapa have been fighting the coal plant for many years, and the plan is considered a major victory.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the project will benefit the region economically. The new solar project is expected to create many construction jobs for the area.
The 850-acre plant is being built by RES Americas.
Kevin Washburn, the Interior Department’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, said, “This solar project is a tribute to the vision and determination of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians as well as a great day for Indian Country as a whole.”
From the Department of the Interior website: “The Moapa solar project will be the second utility-scale solar project approved for development on tribal trust lands, and is one of the many steps the administration has taken to help strengthen tribal communities. The project is also the 52nd utility-scale renewable energy project that Interior has approved since 2009 as part of a Department-wide effort to advance smart development of renewable energy on our nation’s public lands. Together, the wind, solar and geothermal projects could support more than 20,000 construction and operations jobs and generate about 14,000 megawatts of power to communities across the West, or enough to power nearly 4.8 million homes. These achievements build on the historic expansion of renewable energy under President Obama, with energy from sources like wind and solar doubling since the President took office.”