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6/28/2010 6:01:00 AM
Solar plant construction looms
Work on site north of Lake Havasu City could start this year
Catherine Rumney/Courtesy
Solar arrays such as these SunCatchers near Glendale may soon dot the landscape near Lake Havasu City. Needle Mountain Power wants to install 48,000 of the dishes on 10,000 acres of land north of Interstate 40 and Highway 95.
Catherine Rumney/Courtesy
Solar arrays such as these SunCatchers near Glendale may soon dot the landscape near Lake Havasu City. Needle Mountain Power wants to install 48,000 of the dishes on 10,000 acres of land north of Interstate 40 and Highway 95.

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

Correction: The June 28 front-page story "Solar plant construction looms," incorrectly spelled the name of the technology used in the solar arrays. The correct spelling is Stirling Energy Systems.

The company has also updated some of the cost and job estimates for the plant. The plant is expected to cost around $4 billion and generate between 2,500 and 3,000 jobs during construction. It will have between 400 and 500 permanent jobs when it is complete and use less than the 8,200 acre-feet of water originally slated for the Sterling master-planned community.

The new plant will be located north of Interstate 40 and Needle Mountain Road and west of Highway 95.

KINGMAN - One of the largest solar power plants in the nation is on its way to becoming a reality.

Needle Mountain Power is the developer of the planned 1,200-megawatt Stirling Solar generating facility on 10,000 acres of land north of Interstate 40 and west of State Route 95. It will occupy the land previously earmarked for the proposed 37,000-home Sterling master-planned community.

The company recently finished its three citizen participation meetings in Kingman and Golden Shores.

Concerns raised at the meetings included access to Polaris Road, the loss of off-road vehicle access to the property, which is privately owned, and the visual impact of the solar arrays.

The Stirling Energy System uses a dish of curved mirrors, similar in appearance to a satellite dish, to focus the sun's rays on a Stirling engine to produce electricity.

Stirling engines use a compressed gas or liquid heated by an outside source, such as the concentrated rays of the sun, to move a piston attached to a flywheel. The movement of the flywheel generates electricity as the gas within the engine expands and contracts and pushes the piston back and forth.

In order to produce 1,200-megawatts of electricity, the plant would have to install around 48,000 of the dishes, called SunCatchers.

The Salt River Project in Glendale recently built a similar plant using 60 SunCatchers. That plant produces about 1.5-megawatts of electricity.

Needle Mountain has also received word that the Western Area Power Association is considering its application to tap into WAPA's transmission lines in the area.

According to Needle Mountain Project Consulting Engineer Michael Clinton, the Arizona Department of Water Resources had slated nearly 8,200 acre-feet of water for the Sterling community. The solar project will use about 10 percent of that water.

The project is expected to cost around $4 billion and would generate 2,500 to 3,000 jobs for six years during construction and 400 to 500 permanent staff to operate the facility. Construction could start as early as the end of this year.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, October 3, 2010
Article comment by: Maurita Cooper

My brothers & myself own 40 acres on Polaris Road , 210-02-225 thru 240 in Section 3 T16 R 20. what is the impact to our land? I do not think my brothers are aware of the Project. Will we have ingress and egress from property? How far away is this Project?Taxes doubled this year!!!!!!

Posted: Friday, August 27, 2010
Article comment by: nnp nnp

Any and all water should be taken from Mexifornia's allotment of Colorado River water, not from our aquifer's.

Why are these corporations not installing photovoltaic solar plants. No, let me say this, no solar plant that uses water should be allowed in a desert state. This is almost as stupid and foolish as allowing Mexican's to flood into our country costing us a fortune in gov. services.

Posted: Friday, August 27, 2010
Article comment by: Bob Bernstein

I have lived in Arizona since 1976. The region, state, and the community will all benefit greatly if Needle Mountain Power can pull off this very impressive solar project. This is the right type of development the country needs to ween ourselves of the dependence of Middle Eastern oil and take advantage of our vast and natural renewable energy source, the sun. Needle Mountain Power, you have my support!

Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2010
Article comment by: richard Masud

Does not the landowners near Needle Mountain Power (Yucca) receive royalty payments for the use of water stemming from the aquifiers underneath their land to sustain the project? Please be informed that oil companies pay royalties for the oil reserves in all parts of the US......

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010
Article comment by: Jim Moses

You can build this in MY back yard if it means jobs, and carbon-free energy for my children's future!

Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Article comment by: vock canyon

This sounds like a really great project. One simple question, DOES IT USE FOSSIL FUELS AT NIGHT TO KEEP THE THING RUNNIG?????

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010
Article comment by: WORKIN MAN

I guess that kind of blows the developers and mayor Salem calling Denise and Susan and Valley Vista residents anti growth radicals. Susan stood up in favor for several good projects as has Denise. Which is it? Are they anti growth or are they just speaking the truth about certain projects? Looks like some of these name callers are eating some crow. The developers wanted you to think they were anti growth because thats how they buffalo the public into supporting bad projects. The biodiesel plant blew up in Salems face as it did in Watsons Johnsons and the soon to be dethrowned Sockwell. The lawsuits are piling up Mohave County and the recalls are working.

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010

Take a look at the above link......nothing about mirrors reflections effecting air traffic..nothing about high desert heat...nothing about window washing jobs...nothing about 400 employees flushing toilets....etc.etc. etc..


Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010
Article comment by: just a fact

I-40 and SR 95 share the same road from just a little ways east of the bridge to the LHC turnoff. If it is west of the LHC turnoff, then that is a possibility. I thought it was east of the turnoff. Maybe the reporter will find out where the actual location is and let us know. After all, that is there (sic) job.

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010
Article comment by: Denise Bensusan

@What the heck. (no real name)

You should re-read (or bother to read it the first time, as you obviously have NOT) my testimony on the Hualapai Valley Solar Project. You do not have my concerns nor my comments correct, as a matter of fact FAR FROM IT.

The Needle Mountain Project doesn't have to de-nude every inch of desert to support the technology they will be using and this is less impactive to the wildlife and to the neighboring homes. It also negates the flooding that de-nuding causes in the desert environment.

The small amount of water that they will use is a drop in the bucket compared to Hualapai Valley Solar project.

I and my neighbors are not against the Hualapai Valley Solar Project as an AIR-cooled/DRY-cooled project which is what Needle Mountain Solar Project is. We are however against the HUGE amounts of water Hualapai Valley Solar will WASTE INTO EVAPORATION as a WET-cooled solar project from an already depleting aquifer!

Of course you would know all of these things had you ever actually read any of the materials presented surrounding the Hualapai Valley Solar project. You would also have been able to specify what I truly stated in the past few months. Sounds like your really not concerned with the facts though.

I fully understand how many of the neighboring land owners feel about having a project like this in their backyard. I imagine that most of them are willing to make some accommodations if the project is planned well and has done all it can do to limit the negative impact to the surrounding environment.

From what I have researched thus far Needle Mountain is doing all those things. Too bad Hualapai Valley Solar didn't do the same!

Oh and yes, I'm heading for the Bahamas next week. Why should the others who have profited so tidily be the only ones to have all the fun!

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010
Article comment by: Concur Concur

Have to agree with "What ....the heck?" and his statement.

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010
Article comment by: Bill Scaffold

There is a section where State Route 95 and I-40 share the same path which travels East/West. Probably that is the a part of the highway being refered to.

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010
Article comment by: What.... the heck?

I am mystified by Bensusan's noted support of this project, you mean she isn't going to worry about how 10,000 acres of mirrors are going to affect the natural habitat? Or whine about the reflection affecting air traffic? Or increase the already high desert heat? She isn't worried about the company just spinning us all a line to cover up their genuine corruption and corporate greed to just snatch up stimulus funds? She isn't going to play down good jobs as just mirror washers? Or come up with very one sided opinionated articles from out in nowhere land as actual documentation that show how 400 employees are really going to use more water flushing toilets than what the project states in its report? She isn't even going to question the report? Who really did it or even one little hint of falsehood or misrepresentation?

Flushing toilets, that reminds me, what are we supposed to do with that water Denise? We have to save it for something right, or have you been paid off? Funny how a project 50+ miles from her house doesn't bother her so much as one only 10+ miles down the road. What happened to her community spirit and awareness? Isn't this project still in Mohave County? Aren't stimulus funds still our tax dollars?

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010
Article comment by: just a fact

Some facts are missing. I-40 runs east to west. State Route 95 runs from north to south. How is this project going to be north of both? That is a lot of water. Will it be coming from the Colorado River or from an aquifer? If so, which aquifer? If would like for the reporter to do more investigating and make an effort to know what is going on. How about a hydrology report? I would imagine there is one on file with the state. How long has Sterling Solar been in business? How long as Needles Mountain Power been in business? Who foots the bill for the $5 billion? Will it cost Mohave County anything?

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010
Article comment by: Denise Bensusan

This is an excellent project! One that this community can be proud to include in its future.

The Needle Mountain Power representatives understand that the use of large amounts of water to produce electricity in this desert region is inappropriate!

Thank you Needle Mountain Power for caring about this community. Unlike other projects in the region that want to negatively impact the water supply of the citizenship this corporation appears to be cutting edge in its approach to being a friend to the people who live and thrive here.


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