Washignton, 2 June (Argus) — The US Department of Interior yesterday approved three solar projects totaling 442MW on federal lands in Nevada under its mandate to grow utility-scale solar in the US southwest.
The projects approved by the department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are First Solar's 200MW Playa Solar farm, Invenergy's 112MW Harry Allen farm and NV Energy's 130MW Dry Lake Solar project.
All three facilities will be in BLM's roughly 3,500-acre Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone in southern Nevada. Under expedited reviews, completion of the three projects is expected within the next 10 months, the bureau said.
The projects were scaled back from an originally planned 480MW because of concerns over the affected acreage, BLM said. The agency received bids totaling $5.8mn for the Dry Lake parcels during a lease auction last year.
Under BLM's Western Solar Plan, competitive leasing auctions and environmental assessments are streamlined in an effort to deploy what could amount to 27,000MW of solar capacity in 19 designated zones across Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah.
President Barack Obama has directed Interior to approve 20,000MW of renewable energy capacity on public lands by 2020.
The three projects approved yesterday are among about 3,000MW of new solar capacity under review by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.