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Council OKs plan for Houston firm to lease land to build solar plant

Another solar plant may be coming to Boulder City after the City Council approved an agreement with a company that plans to help California utilize more green energy.

Representatives from Skylar Resources met with council members Tuesday night to discuss an option agreement that would allow the company to build a solar plant in Boulder City.

According to city records, Skylar is looking to construct its project “immediately” as part of the power purchase agreement it reached with the city of Glendale, Calif., in September.

The Glendale City Council approved a 25-year agreement with Skylar to help boost its renewable energy resources with help from a future solar plant in Nevada, otherwise known as the Townsite project, according to Glendale city records. The agreement is expected to cost Glendale as much as $731 million during the next 25 years.

Boulder City granted the Houston-based Skylar the option agreement to the 880 acres of land inside the Eldorado Valley energy zone after the previous lease holder, Korea Western Power Co. Ltd., assigned Skylar the rights.

In June, KOWEPO amended its contract with the city for tax purposes, keeping the vacant land in the city’s name, because it hadn’t established a power purchase agreement with any utility. The option on the land is set to expire Feb. 1., and Skylar must pay the city $47,784 in order to extend it for any future plans.

Gerald Balboa, chief operating officer of Skylar Resources, presented the council with a background of the company, as well as its intentions to make good with Boulder City.

“What assurances are you giving us in the agreement?” asked Mayor Rod Woodbury.

“We have a customer. We have a solid PPA (power purchase agreement), and we think this project matches up with that,” Balboa told the council.

Balboa said Skylar plans to build a 60 megawatt plant to help power the city of Glendale, but he said the company plans on eventually building a plant capable of producing as much as 180 megawatts with the hopes of other municipalities purchasing the power.

Balboa said he has already been in talks with other cities about buying power from the future solar plant in Boulder City, though he would not disclose which cities he had spoken with.

He said there was no timeline set for construction since more negotiations are still in the works, but said he would like it to get done “as soon as possible.”

“There are a few steps before we can commit to a timeline,” Balboa said.

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power already has its Copper Mountain Solar complex in the Eldorado Valley, where approximately 180,000 homes in Los Angeles and Burbank are reaping the benefits.

“The governor of our state has faced us with some real challenges of achieving 50 percent renewable energy by 2030,” John Dennis, director of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, said during Sempra’s Copper Mountain 3 dedication ceremony in May.

About 2,400 jobs were created during the construction of the three Copper Mountain solar projects.

Further talks about Skylar’s solar project are expected to be heard during the Sept. 8 council meeting, City Attorney Dave Olsen said.

Contact reporter Steven Slivka at sslivka@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow @StevenSlivka on Twitter.




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