Solar Project that Threatened Michael Heizer’s Double Negative Canceled
July 27th, 2021
Plans for a massive solar power plant that would possibly have occluded views from Michael Heizer’s 1969 Double Negative have been scrapped. The billion-dollar Battle Born Solar Project, which was to occupy 9,000 acres atop Mormon Mesa near Overton, Nevada, bowed out after residents campaigned against it, saying its impingement on the view from the iconic Land art work would deter tourists and thus (double) negatively affect the local economy. Those protesting worried that visitors to Double Negative, two fifty-foot-deep trenches spanning Mormon Mesa, remote natural plateau eighty miles north of Las Vegas, would have been able to apprehend the solar field within what is otherwise an unspoiled landscape.
The planned solar farm was put forth by California-based renewable-energy companies Arevia Power and Solar Partners VII, and would have been the largest in the United States. With a capacity of 850 megawatts, roughly one-tenth that of Nevada’s total capacity, the project represented a big step in the state’s campaign to transition to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. Though Arevia earlier this year told a television station the solar array would not be visible from Double Negative, those protesting the solar field additionally pointed to concerns in relation to archaeological sites and local wildlife, particularly endangered species. As a result, Solar Partners VII let the Federal Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the land on which the solar field was to have been built, that it was withdrawing its application for the proposed plant.
Lisa Childs, founder of the local grassroots initiative Save Our Mesa, which campaigned against the project, earlier this year noted that the group was “not against renewable energy but we feel it needs to be placed more responsibly.” Speaking recently, she noted that Arevia “spent millions to overcome issues around their application, including our opposition, but were not able to come up with resolutions.”