Secretary Jewell approves 450MW of solar in Arizona and Nevada

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US secretary of the interior Sally Jewell has approved two new mega-solar energy projects in the south-western states totalling 450MW as part of president Obama's 'all of the above' energy strategy.

The plants will be built in La Paz County, Arizona, and Boulder City and Lovelock in Nevada.

The 350MW Midland Solar Energy Project in Nevada is being developed by Boulder Solar Power, while the Quartzsite Solar Project, a 100MW concentrating solar power plant in Arizona, will be taken forward by Quartzsite Solar Energy, a subsidiary of California-based Solar Reserve.

The Department of the Interior said the new projects reflected president Obama’s recent push to expand US-based energy production – his ‘all of the above’ energy strategy, endorsed by Secretary Jewell and the new US energy secretary, Ernest Moniz. In the past four years, the department has approved 25 utility-scale solar farms, as well as 20 other clean energy plants, along with the necessary infrastructure to connect them to the main supply grid.

Alongside the two solar plants, Jewell also approved a 70MW geothermal plant in Nevada. The DOI said the three new sites would generate a peak construction workforce of more than 900 people and, once completed, will generate enough power to maintain just under 200,000 American homes.

The DOI also said its Bureau of Land Management had ensured the installers and suppliers are doing everything they can to mitigate any negative environmental or ecological impact on the area, emphasising collaboration with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.

The Bureau of Land Management has 15 more renewable energy proposals on the slate for the next year.

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