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U.S. Approves 520 Megawatts of Solar, Geothermal Energy Projects

The U.S. approved three renewable-energy projects to be built on federal land in Arizona and Nevada.

The two solar farms and one geothermal project will total 520 megawatts of capacity, enough to power more than 200,000 homes, the U.S. Interior Department today in a statement on its website. Costs weren’t disclosed and the expected power customers weren’t named.

The U.S. doubled its use of renewable-energy during the past four years. The three projects approved today are part of the Obama administration’s strategy of promoting wider use of solar, wind and geothermal energy on federal lands.

Closely held SolarReserve LLC’s 100-megawatt Quartzsite Solar Project is planned for a site in La Paz County, Arizona, and will use mirrors to focus sunlight on a boiler and generate steam to drive a turbine.

Closely held Terra-Gen Power LLC received approval for its 70-megawatt New York Canyon Geothermal Project planned for a site in Pershing County, Nevada, that will tap into underground heat to produce electricity.

The agency also approved transmission facilities on federal lands as part of a solar project planned for private lands near Boulder City, Nevada. The 350-megawatt Midland project, proposed by a unit of Korea Electric Power Corp., will use conventional photovoltaic panels to produce power.

The agency has approved 45 utility-scale solar, wind and geothermal facilities on federal land since 2009, and they may total more than 12,500 megawatts of capacity when built, enough to power more than 4.4 million homes, according to the statement. It plans to complete review of 15 more renewable energy proposals this year and next, the agency said.

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