There’s a saying that everything is bigger and better in Texas. But as recent renewable energy news shows, that saying can extend to Nevada, too. In 2019, state regulators gave one of the top energy companies in the state, called NV Energy, the go-ahead to complete a massive solar energy project. When finished, the project will produce an impressive 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy. It will also produce about 590 megawatts (MW) worth of battery power using solar light batteries. Collectively, these power-generating capacities will help the state make progress towards its renewable energy goals. It is also a step forward in inspiring larger utilities in the West to incorporate renewable energy into their electrical grids.
The mega renewable energy project, which is certainly large-scale in its own right, is part of an even larger project. It adds considerable renewable energy and battery backup power using solar light batteries to a larger solar project already in existence. NV Energy’s product will join Gemini, which is a large multi-part project built by Quinbrook and Arevia. The Southern Bighorn portion of the project produces about 300 MW of power. The cumulative Gemini project has a 690 MW solar power capacity. Along with Southern Bighorn, it includes a large solar farm called Misae 2. When finished, the projects in Nevada and Texas will create the nation’s largest solar energy array.
Power in Numbers
The combined projects in Nevada and Texas will collect and produce energy supplies through their solar-collecting arrays. They will also provide up to four hours’ worth of energy storage capacity. In major battery news, these projects will have the potential to transfer hundreds of megawatt-hours’ worth of solar power from the grid to a backup battery supply. In doing so, they make solar energy available into the afternoon and evening hours by collecting and storing excess energy generated during the sunnier parts of the day.
Upon completion, NV Energy’s project is expected to add about 1.5 GW hours of solar battery storage capacity. When that happens, it will make battery news and solar news as the largest solar project in the nation with the largest battery power storage capacity. At 690 MW in size without solar battery storage, the project will exceed the current record held by the Manatee Energy Storage Center. This project, which was built by NextEra Energy and Florida Power & Light, is located in Florida. It has a total capacity of 490 MW and 900 MW hours.
Following the Leader
When NV Energy completes its project, it expects to have many of the same benefits as the original Southern Bighorn project in Texas that is now part of Gemini. Originally the big name in solar news, Southern Bighorn project generates a maximum of 300 MW of power. It also has a backup battery supply that contains an additional 135 MW of power and 540 MW hours of stored battery power. With this capacity, the project can operate roughly 65% of the time in peak summer hours.
As of early January 2020, NV Energy is coming much closer to clearing the regulatory hurdles needed to complete its project. The Bureau of Land Management has performed its last environmental impact statement, approving the project’s construction on federal lands. The project is awaiting final approval from the current administration, which has tentatively agreed to permit construction.
Making headlines in renewable energy news, NV Energy looks to create the largest solar energy system in the United States. With an impressive power-generating capacity of 690 MW, this system is larger than the current largest solar array by about 200 MW, showing that renewable energy is poised for growth in the coming year.