The state of Nevada is famous for many good things:
- Gold – the state continues to be the largest producer of gold in the US.
- A vast desert landscape that is also home to exotic wildlife.
- Las Vegas – the gambling capital of the world, also known as ‘the city that never sleeps’.
And if all goes well, the Trump administration will soon put their stamp of approval on ‘Gemini’ – a huge 7,000+ acre solar farm served by Warren Buffet’s NV Energy, thus making it the largest solar farm in all of America.
Here are the highlights…
Built on federal land, Gemini will produce 690 MW of solar power
That is massive, even by federal government standards. This will push Southern California’s solar farm, currently listed at the top with 579 megawatts of solar power, to a poor second.
It may seem surprising that this mammoth sized renewable energy project will indeed get the nod from the Trump administration, which has never shied away from publicly expressing its reservations on the climate change issue.
But the fact is that the government has recognized the lucrative potential of turning dry, (albeit) federal land, into a profitable renewable energy farm. In fact, this act also comes with the blessings of the globally respected investor yet politically controversial, Warren Buffet.
Interestingly, this is the third such project to be approved by Trump’s government, along with Palen – California’s 500 megawatt solar farm, and Sweetwater – Wyoming’s 80 megawatt solar farm.
Equipped with comparable solar battery storage for use at night
Unlike the old solar farms that failed due to inadequate battery storage, NV Energy has made sure to factor 4 large lithium-ion batteries, capable of storing up to 380 megawatts of solar energy for up to four hours, in order to power the state after dark. It seems fitting that the state housing Las Vegas – aka ‘the city of lights’, is also equipped to power the entire state with renewable energy even after the sun sets.
For this, NV Energy will pay the state at a rate of $38.44 per megawatt-hour of total solar energy generated by the farm for the next 25 years, thus boosting the state’s economy with the added possibility of generating more jobs in a country that’s already producing lots of jobs because of the current booming economy.
Benefits for surrounding states
Finally, Gemini’s huge storage capacity will also ensure that what happens in Vegas need not necessarily stay in Vegas. The sheer size and scale of the farm makes it feasible for surrounding states to benefit from Nevada’s renewable energy ministrations.
There are some environmental concerns with the Gemini project due to the possibility of the project’s construction and operational needs displacing or even endangering the lives of 200+ desert tortoises.