The Arizona Corporation Commission's (ACC) Line Siting Committee has voted 10-0 to recommend approval of a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility for the 340 MW Hualapai Valley Solar project after two days of hearings. The company is proposing to build a parabolic-trough facility in the Mohave Desert in Arizona, just south of Las Vegas. The expected cost of the project is over $2 billion.
The committee also conditioned its approval on the preferential hiring of local residents, given the very high unemployment in Mohave County. The project is expected to employ over 1,500 workers during construction and over 100 during operations.
The project is currently negotiating a power purchase agreement with a major utility in the Southwest for a long-term offtake contract. Negotiations are also under way for an engineering, procurement and construction contract with a global contractor. The sponsors are in the process of arranging financing for the facility, which is expected to close before the end of 2010 in order to qualify for the U.S. Treasury cash grant in lieu of the solar investment tax credit. It is anticipated that part of the financing will come from the U.S. Department of Energy's loan-guarantee program.
"We are very pleased that the Line Siting Committee recognizes the value of solar power of Arizona and, specifically, in Mohave County," says Mitchell Dong, ACC's executive director." We are especially appreciative of the committee's support of the project using wet cooling, given its primary water source from the city of Kingman's wastewater treatment plant. This innovative combination of solar power and the use of reclaimed water will set a model for future solar thermal plants in Arizona, the Southwest and in the deserts of the world."
SOURCE: Arizona Corporation Commission