1The Luning Flats will soon be producing up to 50 megawatts of power if Invenergy can get through the phases of county government.

Invenergy is the leading clean energy company based out of Chicago with solar, wind and natural gas-fueled power generations and energy storage projects located in the United States, Canada and Europe.

The project in Luning, called the “Luning Solar Energy Center” will be made up of multiple arrays of single-axis tracking solar panels with the point of interconnection at NV Energy Table Mountain substation.

The project is sited on approximately 560 acres of Bureau of Land Management land. The BLM manages more than 19 million acres of public land in six southwestern states, with the potential of hosting solar farms. Per the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which set a 10-year target for the Secretary of the Interior to approve at least 10,000 megawatts of non-hydropower renewable energy projects on public lands. The Luning Solar Energy Center will be under the Western Solar Plan to facilitate renewable energy development here in Nevada.

It is a new age in Nevada. Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (NRS 704.7821) was revised on July 1, 2009 by Senate Bill 358, to state that by calendar year 2025, no less than 25 percent of the total amount of electricity sold by NV Energy to its retail customers in Nevada must be from renewable energy resources.

Additionally, a solar “carve-out” states that beginning in 2016, at least 6 percent of the energy should be solar-generated.

While Invenergy is actively marketing their project, the benefits of this project when it comes to Mineral County will be in more than 100 construction jobs. Once the project is operational, two full-time job and four part-time positions would be created.

Once operational, the project would contribute approximately $1 million annually to the local economy through tax payments and staff salaries.

The preliminary development of the project began in 2013. Invenergy met with the Mineral County Board of Commissioners who approved the project’s special use permit in November of 2014. A Notice to Proceed from BLM is expected in the spring of this year. Construction will begin in the fall, with commercial operations scheduled for fall of 2016.

In a statement from Invenergy, project manager, Laura Miner stated, “Invenergy is delighted to have the opportunity to create a new source of clean, homegrown power in Mineral County, and will be pleased to invest in the local community through job creation and tax payments. We look forward to working with our host community as we move forward in developing the Luning Solar Energy Center.”

The Luning Solar Energy Center will be the second source of renewable energy in Mineral County. The first was Ormat Wild Rose geothermal plant which entered into a 20-year contract with Southern California Public Power Authority in 2013.