KINGMAN, Ariz. — A solar power plant being billed as the largest in the United States is being proposed for a site outside Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
Lake Havasu-based Needle Mountain Power LLC wants to build on a 10,300- acre site near the junction of Interstate 40 and State Route 95, which had been proposed for the master-planned community of Sterling.
The massive plant would cost $5 billion to $6 billion to build and could generate up to 1,200 megawatts of electricity, according to consulting engineer Michael Clinton. By comparison, the solar array on 140 acres of Nellis Air Force Base land generates 15 megawatts. Needle Mountain Power has an option to purchase the property pending approvals of various permits.
“I really believe the permits are the significant issues,” Clinton said. “But I think we’re positioned to where our permitting process is going to be far less complex than any of the others that are out there today.”
The ability to connect to the Western Arizona Power Administration transmission lines that cross the parcel is a plus, he said, because it minimizes need for the type of environmental study needed if the connection line had to travel across public or private lands. The company plans to use photovoltaic and other water-friendly technology that should reduce opposition to the project, he said.
Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson said the plant will offer construction jobs, operating jobs and an increased tax base.
“The size of it is obviously a feather in the cap for Mohave County and the state of Arizona, if we’re able to get this plant located here,” Johnson said.