Carson City District-Stillwater Field Office

Patua Geothermal Development Project (Vulcan Power Company) Environmental Assessment (DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0016-EA)

Vulcan Power Company (VPC) is proposing to design, construct and operate geothermal well pads and wells, geothermal fluid pipelines, transmission lines, and associated access roads.  These facilities would be connected to a new 60 mW net geothermal power generation facility, to be located on a privately owned section of land within the unit.  Upon completion of the analysis and decision, VPC would begin development of the proposed project components.  Once construction is finalized, utilization and power generation would begin.

Background:  Vulcan Power Company (VPC) has acquired the rights to all federal geothermal leases issued by the Department of the Interior (DOI), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the Patua Geothermal Unit N-85168X (Unit). The leases were acquired indirectly through agreements with private parties and directly for lease NVN-085705, which was acquired by VPC from the BLM. In addition, VPC has agreements with private landowners for the rights to the geothermal resources associated with the majority of the private lands within the Unit. The lease areas are located in Churchill and Lyon Counties, Nevada. The BLM manages the subsurface geothermal resources underlying the federal leases in the project area and the Bureau of Reclamation, Lahontan Basin Area Office (Reclamation) is the surface management agency.

This Environmental Assessment (EA) analyzes the proposed project pursuant to the national Reclamation/BLM Interagency Agreement, December 1982. Reclamation does not maintain an Agency-specific migratory bird species of conservation concern list or an agency-specific sensitive species list other than those protected under the Endangered Species Act (1973); therefore, to be consistent with Reclamation policy the BLM will not address migratory birds of conservation concern as per IM 2008-05 or BLM designated sensitive species. Additionally, state species are also not addressed on federally managed lands.

VPC prepared a Right-of-Way Plan of Development, and a geothermal Utilization and Operations Plan for the Patua Geothermal Project. These plans were submitted to the Carson City District Office, Stillwater Field Office (CCDO), and the Lahontan Basin Area Office (LBAO) of Reclamation for review in October 2009, and were revised in February 2010. VPC is proposing to design, construct, and operate geothermal well pads and wells, geothermal fluid pipelines, a 120 kV transmission line, a 60 megawatt (MW) net power plant, and associated access roads. VPC anticipates that construction activities could begin late 2010 and could be completed in the first half of 2012.

This environmental analysis is jointly prepared between BLM and Reclamation. Reclamation will review the analysis concerning the ROW and determine whether to grant a ROW and license for the transmission line. State Lands Commission is responsible for the ROW in consultation with NDOW on state-managed lands. Elements of the project on state and private lands are included in this analysis for the purpose of providing contextual information concerning the proposed project. However, Reclamation and BLM do not have any decisions over activities occurring on private and/or state land.

BLM oversees approval of the geothermal utilization and operations plans (geothermal facilities on Reclamation-managed lands) in consultation with Reclamation and both agencies would determine through this analysis the terms and conditions under which it will authorize the geothermal facilities.

Location:  The Patua Geothermal Project is located approximately 7 miles east of Fernley, Nevada, in Lyon and Churchill Counties. The project site is accessible from Alternative 50 (Alt 50) to the south. The project location is shown in Figure 1.1-1.

The proposed well pads, access roads, and pipelines would be located on lands managed by Reclamation and on private lands. The 60 MW geothermal power generation facility would be located on private land (Section 21, T20N, R26E, Mount Diablo Base Meridian (MDBM)) within the Unit. The power plant would connect to a proposed transmission line located on Reclamation-managed lands, State of Nevada-managed lands that are part of the Fernley Wildlife Management Area (FWMA), and private lands. The transmission line would connect to a substation located on private lands. The project area is shown in Figure 1.1-2. The geothermal leases within the Patua Unit are shown in Figure 1.1-3.

Geothermal drilling on Reclamation lands would occur within T20N, R26E, Sections 16 and 20, MDBM, and on private lands within Sections 29 and 19, T20N, R26E, MDBM. The transmission line would be located within portions of the following sections: Sections 18-21, T20N, R26E, MDBM, and Sections 10 and 13-15, T20, R25E, MDBM.

For more information please call: 775-885-6000.

Environmental Document Links:

Decision Record & Finding of No Significant Impact (December 6, 2010)

Patua Geothermal Project, Geothermal Unit N-85168, Environmental Assessment (DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0016-EA) 33mb in pdf (file takes awhile to download due to size)