By Tasha Anderson for AZBEX
On September 16th, The Pinal County Planning and Zoning Commission will hear a request for a new photovoltaic solar power plant to be located southeast of the City of Eloy in unincorporated Pinal County.
Boulevard Associates, LLC, an affiliate of NextEra Energy, is requesting an amendment to the Pinal County Comprehensive Plan, to redesignate approximately 1.3 acres from Medium Low Density Residential, Medium Density Residential, High Density Residential, General Commercial and General Public Facilities/Services to Green Energy Production and General Public Facilities/Services.
The project, known as the Eloy Valley Solar Project, is proposed to include a photovoltaic solar field containing an approximately 350-megawatt output. According to the narrative submitted to the county, “The project would require a generation intertie (gen-tie) transmission line and additional project infrastructure. It is anticipated that the gen-tie transmission lines would run to the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) ED-5 substation.”
The documents go on to state that an energy storage facility may be developed along with the solar field.
Boulevard Associates LLC chose the property as an optimal site for the field as it is within the vicinity of the APS 230kv electrical transmission line, the Pinal Central substation and the WAPA ED-5 substation. The site is nearly all flat land and does not contain any protected wildlife.
“Paved and unpaved rural roads provide access to the site and adjacent properties,” according to the narrative. The roads include South Sunshine Boulevard, Eleven Mile Corridor Road, Green Reservoir Road, East Ellis Road and West Pretzer Road. “The intersection of Interstate 10 (I-10) and State Route 87 is approximately 5.5 miles northeast of the Project.”
Water usage is not expected to be an issue as the project will use no water resources to generate electricity and, since there will be no Operations and Maintenance Building, there would be no negligible use of water during construction.
The documents state that the solar facility will be constructed in three phases. It is anticipated that the first phase, which will have an output of approximately 100 megawatts, will begin construction in 2023.