On Aug. 13, the Moapa Band of Paiutes in Nevada announced that its partnered with Herbst Energy and Stronghold (the largest minority woman-owned EPC in the U.S.) to develop up to 1.5 gigawatts of clean energy. Under the partnership, the three organizations have created Moapa Energy, which will develop and deploy the 1.5 gigawatts of clean energy on tribal lands.
This is not the first time the Moapa have partnered to build clean energy on their land. Last year they partnered with K Road Power as K Road Moapa Solar LLC to build a 350 megawatt photovoltaic project, 250 megawatts of which are under contract with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
“Generating clean, emissions-free solar power on our reservation has long been a goal of the Moapa people, and is true to our heritage of environmental consciousness, respect for the earth and reverence of our sacred lands,” said Eric Lee, vice chair, Moapa Band of Paiutes. “We are thrilled to be working with Herbst Energy and Stronghold Engineering to bring this ground-breaking partnership to fruition at a time when the nearby Reid-Gardner coal plant is being decommissioned.”
Under the new agreement, the first project slated for development is a 250 megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant. The project will also include a gas generation plant that will provide electricity in the evening and through the night. The U.S. Department of Energy's Tribal Energy Program is providing assistance for the project.
The Moapa will maintain the majority ownership of all the tribal based clean energy projects developed on Moapa Reservation Lands, the reservation said. “This ambitious joint venture will deliver a brand new supply of clean renewable energy serving the tribe, and thousands of Nevada and California utility customers,” said Troy Herbst, president of Herbst Energy.
“We are excited about bringing significant tribal energy generation online in a crucial area of the West,” said Beverly Bailey, CEO of Stronghold. “Sited at the nexus of major transmission lines, Moapa Energy projects could provide electricity for customers of nearly every major Western utility.”
The Moapa Band of Paiute Indians live on the Moapa River Reservation, a 71,954 acre reservation, which was last expanded under the Carter Administration. The tribe is close to the Reid Gardner Generating Station, a 557 megawatt, coal-fired power plant, which the tribe has blamed for chronic lung disease. The power plant is set to shutter three of its four generators in 2013 and its last in 2017. As such, it’s an ideal time for the Moapa Band of Paiutes to start generating their own clean electricity for themselves and for sale beyond the reservation’s borders.