Trump Administration to Approve Largest Solar Farm in U.S., to Be Built in Desert Outside Las Vegas

Nation/World
A panel-washing robot cleans a row of solar panels during a dedication ceremony to commemorate the completion of the 102-acre, 15-megawatt Solar Array II Generating Station at Nellis Air Force Base on Feb. 16, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

A panel-washing robot cleans a row of solar panels during a dedication ceremony to commemorate the completion of the 102-acre, 15-megawatt Solar Array II Generating Station at Nellis Air Force Base on Feb. 16, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Federal officials plan to approve a massive solar farm with energy storage in the desert outside Las Vegas, paving the way for a $1-billion project that will provide electricity to Nevada residents served by billionaire Warren Buffett’s NV Energy.

At 690 megawatts across 7,100 acres, the facility would generate more power than the largest solar farm currently operating in the United States, a 579-megawatt plant in Southern California. The energy storage component — at least 380 megawatts of four-hour lithium-ion batteries, capable of storing solar power for use after dark — would also be one of the largest facilities of its kind.

The so-called Gemini project will be on federal lands, and thus requires sign-off from the Interior Department. The department’s Bureau of Land Management released a final environmental impact statement Monday, in which federal officials indicated they will approve the project after one last round of public comments, likely within 90 days.

President Trump has rejected mainstream climate science, attempted to roll back dozens of regulations affecting the fossil fuel industry and routinely criticized renewable energy. In March he called solar power “very, very expensive” despite the fact that it’s now the cheapest electricity source across much of the United States, and in December he once again exaggerated the threat posed to bald eagles by wind turbines.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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