Pacific Solar Investments, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, LLC, has requested a right-of-way from the BLM to construct and operate the Hyder Valley Solar Energy Project, a concentrated solar thermal project on 4,500 acres. The project is proposed to be built in two phases. Total capacity would be 325 megawatts of electricity.
The site is in the Hyder Valley, north of Interstate 8, east of the community of Hyder, and west of Oatman Mountain in Maricopa County, Arizona. The site is about 85 miles southwest of Phoenix.
The BLM is in the process of preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS).
The proposal is to use parabolic trough solar collectors. In this technology, each collector focuses sunlight on a heat collection element. The collectors track the sun from east to west each day. A heat transfer fluid is heated as it passes through the element and then is circulated through a series of heat exchangers to generate high-pressure steam. The steam powers a generator to produce electricity.
Both wet-cooled and dry-cooled options are being considered and will be addressed in the EIS. The maximum water use is estimated at 2,700 acre-feet per year.
Pacific Solar Investments is considering using thermal energy storage. Under that technology, molten salt is heated and then stored in insulated tanks. The heat could be used to generate electricity after sunset.
Pacific Solar Investments is planning two phases of construction. Phase 1 plans calls for a 200 MW power plant, with a 28-month estimated construction period. Phase 2 would be a 125 MW power plant to be built over 24 months. Construction of the two phases is anticipated to have about a four-month overlap.
Here is the project timeline:
Draft EIS released to public: mid 2014
Final EIS released to public: 2015
Record of Decision: 2015
Lane Cowger, Project Manager
Hyder Valley Solar Energy EIS
Bureau of Land Management
1 N. Central Ave., Suite 800
Phoenix, AZ 85004