As the United States moves toward cleaner energy solutions, "we need to do so in a way that takes the long view and avoids or minimizes conflicts with important natural and cultural resources," Jewell said Wednesday in announcing the approval of two new solar facilities.
The secretary signed off Wednesday on a 250-megawatt solar project dubbed Silver State South to be situated on 2,400 acres of public land in Primm, Nev. The site is close to the Ivanpah solar facility, which came online last week as the largest facility of its kind with a full operating capacity of 392 MW.
The Silver State South project design was modified to prevent soil erosion and runoff. Its developer, First Solar, also agreed to provide $3.6 million to protect the desert tortoise, whose habitat was degraded by the Ivanpah project. The revisions diminished the Silver State South's full capacity by 100 MW.
The second project is the 300 MW Stateline Solar farm, planned near the border between California and Nevada.
First Solar has commitments to sell electricity generated from the facilities to utility company Southern California Edison for the next 20 years.
No timeline for completion of the First Solar project was offered.