Nevada Copper, NV Energy to study potential 500MW PV project

Nevada Copper Corp. has entered into an agreement with utility NV Energy to study the potential to develop up to a 500MW PV project that would supply power to a planned mine in western Nevada and the grid.

Any future PV facility would be located on Nevada Copper’s privately-owned land adjacent to the company’s proposed Pumpkin Hollow copper development project.

Nevada Copper, which is based in Vancouver, British Colombia in Canada, expects to complete the study within three months.  

Subject to the study results, the company and NV Energy, the state’s dominant utility, would have an opportunity to enter into an agreement to pursue a solar development opportunity.

The Solar Study will be done at no cost to Nevada Copper, in consideration of which, a 90-day exclusivity period was granted to NV Energy. After that period expires, if no development accord has been mutually agreed after good-faith efforts, Nevada Copper will be free to solicit interest from other parties.

The company's private land surface rights now total 10,683 acres (43sq km) and solar power generation is a key industrial opportunity. This is due to both the industrial zoning of the entire site and lack of any requirements for land use permits, as well as the high solar irradiance of the area.

Depending on the ultimate scope of the Pumpkin Hollow copper mine development, the company estimates that 2,000-4,000 acres of land adjacent to, and outside of, the area of proposed mine facilities could be utilized for solar generation.

Based on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory data, a 200MW typical PV project in the Yerington area near the mine would require 1,600-2,000 acres of land. This implies a potential for up 500 MW of solar power development capacity, according to Nevada Copper.

Evaluation of energy transmission options will also be part of the study. Solar energy generated at the project could be transmitted into the grid via existing high voltage transmission lines located east of the project area, or via other routes.

A power line corridor connecting the project to transmission lines is part of the proposed copper project development plan and the company acquired fee title to that land as part of the land conveyance.

Nevada Copper says Pumpkin Hollow is the largest fully-permitted copper project in the Americas not currently owned by an industry major. The deposit contains 5 billion pounds of contained copper and could support a 23-year mine life.

The price of copper, like most commodities, is depressed because of the sluggish global economy and sharply lower demand from China.