The US Department of the Interior has just given its approval to the Gemini solar park project. This facility to be built in the Nevada desert must become the largest of its kind in his country.
The project, which has raised concerns, is not expected to begin construction until next year.
One billion dollars for 690 MW of power
The facility has until now awaited various necessary agreements and permissions before starting construction. A few weeks ago, he was still awaiting a review imposed by the Clean Water Act, a US federal law ensuring the quality of water and whose application is managed by the Department of the Interior .
All the conditions are now met for this project at the cost of a billion dollars. Once completed, the park will have an installed capacity of 690 MW. This is almost 40% more than the
Nuñez de Balboa solar power plant inaugurated in Spain recently, equipped with 1.4 million solar panels , which defines itself as ” the largest in Europe “. It will also be accompanied by 380 MW of battery storage.
The solar plant is also expected to become the largest in the United States and to support 400,000 homes. Globally, it will be the eighth most important power plant, according to a statement provided by the Interior Department, far behind the 1.18 GW power plant built near Abu Dhabi last year.
Respond to objectives and criticisms
Officials hope to use the power produced to power the metropolitan area of Las Vegas and other areas in southern California. The project will thus enable the State of Nevada to achieve its objective. It has committed to achieving 50% renewable energy in its energy mix by 2030, and 100% by 2050.
However, the project raises concerns. The park, which will span 28.7 km 2 , risks encroaching on a migration corridor used by desert turtles. Organizations also pointed out the visual impact of the project on nearby historic sites.
Because in this desert region, criticisms had been addressed to the former Obama administration, the public having judged that the amount of land open to the exploitation of renewable energies was insufficient. The Trump administration has opened up these federal lands not only to renewable energy, but also to offers from oil and gas companies. An attitude that has raised new criticisms.
Construction is not expected to start this year, in part due to the current health crisis. Arevia Power, the brand in charge of the development of the project, suggested that the necessary controls before the start of construction had to be postponed by the government due to the pandemic.