LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has set aside nearly 70,000 acres in White Pine County for the Stagecoach Wind Project.
The huge project, which will cover more than 100 square miles south of U.S. Highway 50 and about 18 miles east of Eureka, is expected to generate 600 megawatts (MW) of power when it’s complete. It will be almost twice the size of the Spring Valley Wind Farm near Ely, Nevada’s first wind project, which averaged 313MW over its first six years since coming online in 2012.
By setting aside the land, the BLM prevents new mining claims from interfering with project review or development. The BLM hasn’t begun the environmental analysis of the proposed project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Concerns over effects on eagle and bat populations caused delays in the Spring Valley project, slowing that project by about four years to startup.
The BLM also announced on Friday it would conduct a competitive geothermal lease sale on Nov. 14 for 45 parcels with a combined 135,067 acres. The parcels fall in every county in the state except Clark and Lincoln counties and Carson City.
“Nevada has some of the best geothermal resources in the country,” said Justin Abernathy, BLM Nevada Deputy State Director of Energy and Minerals. “BLM has undertaken a rigorous environmental review of these parcels, including receiving input from the public, and we’re confident these are appropriate locations for the development of new clean energy for the benefit of current and future generations.”
The Biden-Harris administration set goals to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025.
Similarly, the environmental effects of geothermal projects — notably in Nevada’s Dixie Valley — have led to court challenges.