Ormat to downsize Dixie Meadows geothermal project, Nevada
Ormat is now planning to downsize the Dixie Meadows geothermal project in Nevada to reduce its impact on the endangered Dixie Valley toad species.
Ormat Technologies (Ormat) is now seeking the approval from the federal government for a smaller geothermal project than originally planned in Dixie Meadows, Nevada. This comes after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared endangered species protection for the Dixie Valley toad, a species found only near the project site.
Construction of the Dixie Meadow geothermal project was initially halted in January 2022 following a lawsuit the Center for Biological Diversity and Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe citing local concerns about the environmental impact of the project. This temporary ban was lifted in February 2022 on the decision of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, pending a full review of the merits of the case.
An application for an emergency Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the Dixie Valley toad was done by the Fish and Wildlife Service in April 2022. This provided grounds for another lawsuit against the geothermal project. With construction halted again, Ormat agreed to await the result of the consultation. With the decision now made, Ormat is in the process of re-evaluating the plans for the Dixie Meadows geothermal project.
According to Ormat spokesperson Zamir Dahbash, the company had already anticipated the ESA listing and has already started the consultation process with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service on ways to minimize the impact of the project on the toad. Downsizing of the project will also give more assurance that the species will not be harmed by the development.