Trump approves Buffett-backed solar project near Las Vegas

Project is largest ever US solar installation

President Trump's administration on Monday approved the biggest solar installation in U.S. history.

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The $1 billion, 690-megawatt project led by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary NV Energy will be built just north of Las Vegas; once completed, it will be the eighth-largest solar plant in the world and power some 260,000 homes in the area.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BRK.ABERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC.312,735.00-6,609.42-2.07%
NVEn.a.n.a.n.a.n.a.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said the project "delivers" on Trump's objective to get Americans back to work.

"As our economy rebounds from the invisible enemy, President Trump is working to make the United States stronger than ever before. Our economic resurgence will rely on getting America back to work, and this project delivers on that objective," he said.

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Developers are expected to begin the project in 2021, and construction is expected to continue for just over two years. The project, which will be built by renewable energy company Arevia Power for NV Energy, is also expected to have as many as 900 workers on-site at all times, the Interior Department said.

Solar panels that are part of the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association's community gardens are shown in Rockford, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

The solar installation will derive energy from photovoltaic solar panels and a 380-megawatt battery storage system.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been hard on American renewable energy projects. Construction has been delayed, thousands of workers have lost their jobs and some are doubting the future of solar and wind projects.

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As many as 120,000 solar-energy jobs and 35,000 wind-energy jobs could be lost because of the pandemic.

The Trump administration, while it has been critical of expensive renewable energy projects in the past, has been steadily expanding its renewable efforts in recent years to maintain dominance in global energy sectors. While fossil fuels, natural gas and coal remain the most profitable energy sectors in the U.S., renewable energy production costs have dropped in the last decade, and more states are increasing their green-energy efforts to help curb climate change.

Gen Nashimoto, of Luminalt, holds a drill as he installs solar panels in Hayward, Calif., on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

General clean-energy buying increased by 44 percent in 2019, research organization BloombergNEF reported in January. Many of these purchases were led by big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon.

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"The reality that we're seeing [is] an era of energy independence and energy abundance, which we won't have predicted six or eight years ago," U.S. Energy Association Executive Director Barry Worthington previously told FOX Business' "The Claman Countdown." "It's really quite remarkable."

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