Construction halted on geothermal power plant in Nevada

Construction halted on geothermal power plant in Nevada Geothermal plant by Ormat, Steamboat Hills, Nevada (source: ThinkGeoEnergy)
Carlo Cariaga 6 Jan 2022

Construction on the Dixie Meadows geothermal project by Ormat was halted for 90 days following a lawsuit filed by tribal leaders and conservationists citing environmental concerns

A federal judge has ordered that construction work be halted on the Dixie Meadows geothermal project in Nevada by Ormat Technologies Inc. The 90-day restraining order was granted following a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe citing local concerns about the environmental impact of the project.

The Dixie Meadows geothermal project aims for the development of up to two 30 MWe geothermal power plants, the drilling of up to 18 production and injection wells, and the construction of pipelines for geothermal fluids and other associated structures. The project will be located in Churchill and Pershing Counties, about 43 miles northeast of Fallon, Nevada. According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the project will help Nevada meet its renewable energy portfolio requirement of 25% total capacity.

The final approval of the BLM Nevada Stillwater Field Office was granted in late 2021, as we reported. This is after an environmental assessment done by Ormat Nevada in 2017, followed by the developer working with the BLM and other partner agencies to create an Aquatic Resource Monitoring and Mitigation Plan.

According to the lawsuit, the project will damage the “pristine and unique location of ecological value and spiritual significance” and that the natural hot springs are “a sacred place of healing and reflection.”

US District Judge Robert C. Jones said that the 90-day restraining order will give the plaintiff the opportunity to appeal the decision to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. A longer injunction period, however, cannot be granted as the judge is not yet convinced that the lawsuit will prevail on its merits.

Site preparation for the Dixie Meadows geothermal project was scheduled to start this week. Ormat has argued that they have already invested USD 68 million on the project and that further delays will compromise its financial viability.

Source: AP News