San Francisco-based Pattern Energy plans to install 66 wind turbines to generate 150 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply about 45,000 homes. NV Energy has agreed to buy power from the wind farm for the next 20 years.
The Western Watersheds Project and the Center for Biological Diversity sued last year in an effort to block the $225 million wind power project, claiming the U.S. Bureau of Land Management skirted environmental regulations to fast-track it.
The National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Nevada Department of Wildlife also expressed concerns over the project.
The conservation groups and company entered settlement talks last year after a federal judge refused to stop work at the site to allow more study of how the turbines would affect bats and sage grouse.
Under the settlement approved March 29 in U.S. District Court in Nevada, Pattern agreed to expand its program for tracking bird deaths associated with the project.
The company also will pay for a $50,000 study of nearby Rose Cave, where as many as 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats roost during their fall migration.
Rob Mrowka of the Center for Biological Diversity said conservationists were forced to settle and try to get as much mitigation as possible once the judge denied a motion to halt construction.
He said the site is riddled with problems, including its proximity to Rose Cave and to nesting and brood-raising areas for sage grouse.
The wind farm also abuts a sacred Western Shoshone swamp cedar site where Indians were massacred during the Goshute War of 1863.
“It’s just a bad spot,” Mrowka said. Pattern officials defend the site, which has been the subject of wind and weather monitoring since 2005.
Pattern Energy Group LP is an independent, fully integrated energy company that develops, constructs, owns, and operates renewable energy and transmission assets in the United States, Canada and Latin America.
With a long history in wind energy, Pattern’s highly-experienced team of scientists, engineers, construction experts, and legal and financial professionals has developed, financed and placed into operation more than 2,500 MW of wind power projects.
Pattern is strongly committed to promoting environmental stewardship and is dedicated to working closely with landowners and communities to create premier renewable energy projects. Currently operating 520 MW of wind energy in North America, Pattern has 250 MW of wind projects in construction and expects to begin construction of more than 750 MW over the next 12 months.
The Company’s full development pipeline exceeds 4,000 MW of renewable energy and transmission projects. Pattern has offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, New York, and Toronto.