There is a second solar project planned for eastern La Paz County. At their meeting Nov. 2, the County Board of Supervisors held public hearings and approved three actions for a proposed solar energy project from Eolus North America, Inc.
The actions approved by the board included a Major Comprehensive Plan Adjustment, a Conditional Use Permit, and a rezoning from Rural Agricultural-40 acres (RA-40) to Public Utility (PU). The project will be built on land currently held by the Arizona State Land Department, and will be adjacent to the land the Bureau of Land Management conveyed to the county for solar development.
A spokesperson for the project, attorney Benjamin Graff, said these measures were required as part of the State Land Department’s process for selling land to private users. In response to a question from County Administrator Ron Drake, Graff said the process with the land department could take up to a year.
Graff is a Land Use and Zoning Attorney with the Phoenix law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP.
In describing the project, Graff said it would generate 200 megawatts of electricity. Combined with the project being planned on the former BLM land, it would make La Paz County the capital of solar power in Arizona.
Graff estimated the project would generate $850 million in for the county in construction, salaries and taxes over the life of the project.
District 2 Supervisor said this was a big deal for the county. He also Eolus was willing to work with the one adjacent property owner who objected to the project to address his concerns.
The project will be adjacent to the 5,900 acres the BLM conveyed to the county earlier this year. In March 2020, the county signed an agreement with 174 Power Global, a South Korean company, to build a solar energy facility on 4,000 acres. It will generate 850 megawatts, making it the largest solar project in the nation. It’s estimated 800 to 1,000 construction jobs will be created, and the plant will generate enough power for 300,000 homes.
Both solar projects are planned to tie into the Ten West Link, a proposed major transmission line that will run from Tonopah, Ariz. to California. La Paz County District 1 Supervisor D.L. Wilson told the Pioneer the first phase of the solar project should be ready at the same time as the transmission line. He said this should be in 2022.
On their Facebook page, Eolus North America describes themselves as a “leading renewable energy company that develops utility-scale solar, wind, and battery energy storage systems and aims to become a leading provider of renewable power throughout the U.S.”
Their headquarters is in La Jolla, Calif.