The Trump administration is expected to soon approve siting for the largest solar farm in the U.S., a $1 billion, 690-megawatt facility that will also include 380 MW of four-hour battery storage, Kallanish Energy reports.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has released its final environmental impact statement for the project, following the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada’s Dec. 4 approval of NV Energy’s proposal. The project will be sited on federal land near Las Vegas.
The Obama administration’s BLM previously rejected the project under an agreement with conservation groups that protected desert land from wind and solar development. The Trump administration indicated it would scrap that agreement in February 2018.
NV Energy’s Gemini solar-plus-storage project will cost roughly $38.44 per megawatt-hour under a 25-year contract and will take up roughly 7,100 acres of federal land, according to the utility.
The project would mark the third time the Trump administration has approved solar siting on federal lands. In June 2018, BLM approved an 80 MW project in Wyoming and in November 2018, the bureau approved a 550 MW farm outside Joshua Tree National Park.
“The proposed Gemini Solar Project would represent a significant increase in renewable energy capacity for Nevada and the West,” BLM Southern Nevada District Manager Tim Smith said, in a statement announcing the bureau’s draft environmental review.
Conservation groups, including Basin and Range Watch, Defenders of Wildlife and the Wilderness Society cited concerns the project may have “unavoidable impacts” to “sensitive resources” in public comments and blogs.
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