WASHINGTON. May 11th, 2020. The largest solar project in American history has been approved to be constructed on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada totaling 690 megawatts per hour. The Gemini Solar Project photovoltaic solar facility and ancillary facility and storage has the potential to be the 8th largest solar project in the world.
The value of the plant, to be built by Solar Partners XI, LLC, is estimated at around $1 billion, and the potential electricity generation would see the powering of 260,000 homes while annually offsetting greenhouse emissions of about 83,000 cars.
Our economic resurgence will rely on getting America back to work, and this project delivers on that objective,” said Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt.
The on-site construction workforce is anticipated to average 500 to 700 construction workers according to the DOI, with a peak of up to 900 workers at any given time, supporting up to an additional 1,100 jobs in the local community and injecting an estimated $712.5 million into the economy in wages and total output during construction.
Not a moment too soon for many in the workforce, though perhaps not as much in energy sector having lost 7,000 jobs during the coronavirus shutdowns. Even still the result is that America is experiencing employment rates similar to the America of the 70s 80s and 90s.
Rescuing the Energy Economy
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recent report of employment field to field finds that employment in utilities has fallen to lows seen in 1971 when the United States had 130 million fewer people.
“This action is about getting Americans back to work, strengthening communities and promoting investment in American energy,” said Casey Hammond, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Exercising the Authority of the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. “Domestic energy production on Federal lands remains fundamental to our national security and the achievements of the Trump Administration.”
In a recent report from an economic and clean energy think tank called Carbon Tracker entitled “How to Waste Half a Trillion Dollars” the authors detail that over $600 billion worth of investments in coal and gas-fired power resources could become “stranded” over just ten years.
In defining stranded, the authors describe a project that has received significant amount of investment capital, but that due to changes in market forces possess little or no potential to earn any of that money back, and that may actually begin to cost more to run than they make from providing electricity.
This amounts to over 1,000 power plants in countries around the world, and almost 500 gigawatts of electricity. The report warns governments and investors to abandon this investment strategy, as operating thermal energy sources as opposed to renewables – not in Scandinavia or Germany, but in China, India, and the U.S. is already 50% more expensive. In Europe, the report finds it’s 100% more expensive, while India, China, and the U.S. are drawing 5% closer every year to that point.
Coal has already fallen in use by about 400,000 tons, the equivalent of about 6 luxury cruise liners, from 2006 to 2018 and renewable energy trends across the world will likely continue to push it further down.
Continue exploring this topic — Paper Models Shutting Down Coal Plants and Finds it Would Save Millions of Tons of Food and Thousands of Lives