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Nevada Solar Farm on Federal Land a Step Closer to Approval (1)

Dec. 26, 2019, 7:17 PM; Updated: Dec. 26, 2019, 9:14 PM

A 690-megawatt solar electric plant near Las Vegas may soon receive the federal go-ahead to become the first solar project approved on public land in more than a year.

The Bureau of Land Management is scheduled to issue the final environmental impact statement for Arevia Power’s Gemini Solar Project on Dec. 27, with an approval decision expected within 90 days, or by the end of March, BLM spokesman Derrick Henry said Dec. 26.

The Gemini project would spread across more than 7,100 acres of federal land in Clark County, Nev., 33 miles northeast of Las Vegas, and provide power for about 400,000 homes, according to Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, an investor.

The project could be the first solar project approved for construction on public land since 2018. The agency previously approved the Palen Solar Photovoltaic Project near Desert Center, Calif., in November 2018.

Final approval for the Desert Quartzite Solar Project near Blythe, Calif., is pending after a final environmental impact statement was issued in September. That project is expected to be approved after public challenges are resolved.

Quinbrook and NV Energy, a southern Nevada electric utility, signed a 25-year power purchase agreement for Gemini in June. The project is one of three new solar power plants that will serve NV Power, including two that will be built on nearby Indian reservations.

Gemini would couple solar power generation with battery storage to allow the project’s energy to be used when the sun isn’t shining. The batteries will be able to store 1,400 megawatt hours of electricity, according to Quinbrook.

Quinbrook, and Arevia didn’t respond to requests for comment Dec. 26. NV Energy said it couldn’t immediately comment.

Arevia expects to complete construction on the Gemini project in 2023, and begin generating power there by the end of that year, according to its website.

(Adds comment from the Bureau of Land Management in 2nd paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Bobby Magill at bmagill@bloombergenvironment.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergenvironment.com; Anna Yukhananov at ayukhananov@bloombergenvironment.com

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