Renewable energy projects approved by Trump administration

Solar energy. Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners

Astonishingly (and happily), massive renewable energy projects on public land are being approved by the federal government, even as Dementia Donald babbles about windmill cancer and the high cost of renewable energy. He’s wrong on both of course. Wind turbines do not cause cancer nor does any rational person suggest they do. And onshore wind and solar are now the cheapest sources of electricity generation. Yes, the cheapest. Cheaper than natural gas. Cheaper than coal. And non-polluting as well.

The Gemini Project is approaching final approval by the Department on the Interior. It will be the biggest solar PV farm in the country, 690 MW, with 380 MW of four-hour battery storage. Thus, it can supply power when it is dark. It will be located near Moapa NV, which is 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas. NV Energy has contracted to buy all its power for 25 years.

The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind project in Wyoming looks like it will be approved. It will be the biggest wind farm in the country, with 3,000 wind turbines generating 3 GW (which is ginormous.)

Other big renewable energy projects are coming too. And yes, billionaires are involved. NV Energy is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy. Chokecherry and Sierra Madre is being developed by Philip Anschutz, a conservative activist billionaire who started out doing oil drilling, has branched into many businesses (including the Coachella Festival), and now has few oil / natural gas properties. Which might well be a sign of the times.

The investment bank Lazard reported in November that onshore wind and solar power are two of the cheapest sources of new electricity generation in the United States, averaging $28 per megawatt-hour and $36 per megawatt-hour, respectively. Electricity from a new natural gas plant, by comparison, typically costs $44 to $68 per megawatt-hour.

A bill signed by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak last year required utilities to get half of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and set a goal of 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2050. NV Energy, which is owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy and is the state’s largest power provider, estimated that 24% of its electricity came from renewables in 2018.