BLM advances $1bn battery-backed solar project in Nevada
Asprawling battery-backed solar project, proposed on federal land in Nevada and projected to cost more than $1bn, is one step closer to breaking ground after the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management released a favourable final environmental impact statement on Monday.
The Gemini Solar + Battery Storage Project, with 690 megawatts of solar photovoltaics, or PV, and 380 MW of battery storage, is underpinned by a recentlyapproved 25-year power purchase agreement between NV Energy Inc. and an affiliate of private equity investor Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners Pty Ltd, which is developing the project together with California-based Arevia Power.
The agency’s final environmental report details a preferred site development plan that varies from the original project proposal. The agency’s alternative plan would carve out additional space for vegetation, natural land contours and endangered desert tortoises, according to S&P Global Platts.
If confirmed by the agency’s record of decision, following a 60-day review period, the project could start construction in early 2020. A first phase is scheduled to be energised in 2021, with final completion no later than December 2023.
The project is one of numerous large-scale solarplus-storage installations in the advanced stages of development in Nevada and the Desert Southwest.
In early December, Nevada energy regulators approved long-term contracts for two additional projects with NV energy, a utility subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway energy. Those include the Arrow Canyon Solar Project, a 200MW PV project with 75 MW of storage, under development by an affiliate of France-based EDF Group, and 8minute Solar energy LLC’S Southern Bighorn Solar & Storage Center, a 300-MW solar facility with 135 MW of battery storage.
Southern Bighorn will deliverpoweratanaverageprice of $35/MWH, below the cost of fossil fuel-based generation, according to 8Minute Solar energy President and CEO Tom Buttgenbach.