Two large solar energy projects before BOS

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Two large-scale solar energy projects destined for Mohave County will go before the county supervisors today for approval

Meeting for the only time in November, the board will look to approve a change to the county’s general plan and the Silverado Area Plan and rezone the land from agricultural residential to heavy manufacturing for Albiasa Corporation’s 200-megawatt solar power project. The plant would be located on 1,800 acres off Highway 93 north of Wikieup.

Last month, the planning and zoning commissioners approved the project amid stiff opposition from neighbors. Residents raised concerns of the solar plant’s use of water, reduction in the property values of neighboring residences and ranches, the loss of a rural area, traffic and other noise. Other speakers asked why the plant would not use dry cooling compared to wet cooling. Some speakers simply opposed alternative energy.

At the commissioners meeting, Mike Horner of the Silverado Ranch Corporation who owns the land said dry cooling would be more costly than wet cooling. He also said the plant would bring 2,000 construction jobs and more than 100 permanent jobs to the area as well as property tax revenue to the county’s general fund.

The plant would use about 2,275 acre feet of water per year, a little less water than used by 4,500 homes and a golf course if built on the same size property and much less than for some agricultural uses, Horner said.

According to a 23-year-old U.S. Geological study, there is about 10 million acre feet of groundwater in the Big Sandy aquifer with an annual recharge rate from rain and other precipitation of about 22,000 acre feet.

The supervisors also will look at a change to the county’s general plan and the Hualapai Valley Area Plan for other solar project about 25 miles north of Kingman. The Mohave Sun Power Company plans to build the world’s largest solar thermal plant on 4,000 acres north of Kingman. The commissioners approved the project in September.

The 340-megawatt solar plant would be built on 4,000 acres and would create 1,500 construction jobs and more than 100 permanent jobs. The project would bring in about $4 million in property taxes, $30 million in construction income and more than $5.5 million in personal income to the county. The plant could be in operation by late 2013 and last for about 30 years.

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