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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Trump Administration Approves Largest U.S. Solar Project Ever

The U.S. Department of the Interior approved this week the biggest solar project in the United States ever—an estimated US$1-billion solar plus battery storage project in Nevada.

Australia’s Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners and California-based Arevia Power now have the green light to build and operate the Gemini Solar Project some 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas in Clark County, Nevada. The project will consist of a 690-MW photovoltaic solar electric generating facility plus a battery storage facility. The project will be the world’s eighth-largest solar power facility and is expected to generate enough electricity to power 260,000 homes in the Las Vegas area and potential energy markets in Southern California, the Department of the Interior said. 

The plan received the U.S. Administration’s approval despite objections from environmentalists who had argued in recent years that the construction would endanger rare species in the area, including the desert tortoise, and endanger the habitats of desert kit foxes and rare wildflowers, among others.

The Gemini project is expected to be built in two phases, with the first phase coming online in 2021 and final completion as early as 2022, the Department of the Interior said. The on-site construction workforce is expected to average 500 to 700 workers, with a peak of up to 900 workers, supporting up to an additional 1,100 jobs in the local community and injecting an estimated US$712.5 million into the economy in wages and total output during construction, the Interior said, at a time when more than 20 million Americans have already lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal revenues from the project are expected to exceed US$3 million annually to the U.S. Treasury.

Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said, commenting on the project’s approval:

“The solar industry is resilient and a project like this one will bring jobs and private investment to the state when we need it most. We appreciate the work that the Trump Administration has done to make this historic project a reality.”

“Gemini offers the opportunity to showcase, at an unprecedented scale, what we believe to be one of the most promising technological advances in coupling battery storage to utility scale solar power to produce low cost renewable energy over the long term,” said David Scaysbrook, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Quinbrook.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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