CARSON CITY — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Stillwater Field Office released the final environmental impact statement (EIS), which analyzes the proposed Salt Wells Energy Projects, which consists of three energy projects proposed by Sierra Pacific Power Company, Ormat Technologies, Inc., and Vulcan Power Company.
Copies of the Salt Wells Energy Projects Final EIS are available in the BLM Carson City District, Stillwater Field Office at 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City, NV 89701. The Final EIS is also available on line at: www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/carson_city_field.html
Publication of a notice of availability of the EIS in the Federal Register on July 22, 2011, initiated a 30-day review period that will conclude August 22, 2011. Members of the public may submit written comments to the BLM, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Attn: Colleen Sievers, Carson City, NV 89701; or by email to: saltwells_[email protected].
Together, the three projects, referred to as the Salt Wells Energy Projects, could include up to five commercial geothermal power plants with a maximum total net output of 160 megawatts, which is enough electricity to power 48,000 homes. The Salt Wells Energy Projects would include a new 22-mile transmission line with associated facilities. All power generated from these projects would remain in Nevada.
The proposed facilities would be sited on a combination of private property and public land managed by the BLM and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The project area, encompassed by the three proposals, covers approximately 24,000 acres, and could result in about 70 wells, 32 of which have been previously approved, with associated pipelines
The EIS analyzes a variety of alternatives to limit impacts to the environment and surrounding communities. Issues of most concern to the public are related to water supplies for cooling, bird species that use the Carson Lake area, and the interests of Fallon Naval Air Station in avoiding community encroachment and interference with flight operations. If the proposals are approved, during construction and operation of the project the companies would be required to abide by the BLM’s Geothermal Leasing Stipulations and Conditions of Approval. In addition, all three companies would be required to develop a plan to outline the specifics of how to construct, operate, and maintain their project and each company would have to implement Best Management Practices as outlined in the EIS.
The BLM is responsible for the development of energy resources on BLM-administered public lands in an environmentally sound manner, and has produced a Final EIS analyzing the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the proposed projects. The proposed development would build the infrastructure necessary to produce and transmit geothermal energy and provide reliable electric capacity to consumers in the Fallon area.
If approved, the Salt Wells Energy Projects would provide a new renewable energy source and contribute to meeting numerous state and federal laws supporting the development of renewable energy. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 encourages the development of renewable and alternative energy resources, including geothermal energy, as part of an overall strategy to develop a diverse portfolio of domestic energy supplies. Furthermore, the Nevada Renewable Portfolio Standard, a state law, requires 25 percent of electricity be produced from renewable sources by 2025.