A plan to build the largest solar energy project in the U.S has been approved by the Trump administration’s Interior Department.
The $1 billion Gemini solar and battery storage project, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas, is expected to produce 690 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 260,000 households — and annually offset greenhouse emissions of about 83,000 cars.
Coupled with a 380 megawatt AC battery storage system, it will be one of the first in Nevada to include batteries to enable power delivery after the sun goes down.
The project will serve NV Energy, part of Warren Buffett‘s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, as the utility works to meet Nevada’s state requirement for 50 percent renewables by 2030 and 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed a record of decision for the project, bringing an end to the federal authorization and environmental review process of the proposed plant.
The Interior Department has estimated that as many as 900 workers could be involved at any given time during construction, and the project’s developers estimate that Gemini will add up to $463 million in economic development value to the Nevada economy.
The developers aim to build the project in two phases over roughly 28 months.
The first phase of the project covering about 11 square miles (28 sq. km) of federal land is expected to be completed next year with 440 MW of solar capacity for use in Nevada. Another 250 MW of generating capacity would be added in the second phase with the power sold in Nevada or exported to Arizona and California in 2022.