Source: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
Last week, one of the largest solar and battery projects in the world just got one step closer to approval. On Friday the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the colossal Gemini Solar Project, a behemoth planned for 11 square miles of the Nevada desert northeast of Las Vegas off Interstate 15.
The paperwork shows few exact details of the project, and it appears that the developers are not even sure if they will use standard or bifacial solar panels. However, buried in the description is a casual mention that there has been an upgrade to the scale of the battery storage component, with a mammoth 531MW /2125 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery planned accompany the 690MWac of solar that will be deployed.
This would make it the largest battery system known to pv magazine; larger even than the 409MW/900MWh battery that Florida Power and Light is planning, or the 495MW battery that is planned as part of the Juno Solar project in West Texas – neither of which have yet been installed.
It’s not clear exactly who the developer is for the Gemini Solar project, and which of the companies involved are playing what role. The site of the project was originally chosen by concentrating solar power (CSP) developer BrightSource Energy for the APEX Solar Energy Generating Systems. BrightSource appears to have sold off the project in 2017 along with the Solar Partners XI, LLC, the company that is on the paperwork as building Gemini Solar.
The publication of the draft EIS now opens a 90-day comment period, which will end on September 5, and will include a series of public meetings. And while President Trump has made public comments dismissing the significance of solar and his administration has openly favored fossil fuels, this does not mean that the Trump Interior Department necessarily plans to put any roadblocks in the way.
Assuming it can get all the approvals in time, the developer plans to begin construction in October 2019, and could complete the first phase in 2021, with the remainder of the project planned to come online in 2022 or 2023. Construction is expected to employ up to 900 workers at any given time.