The US has approved two solar power plants with a combined capacity of 550MW in California and Nevada as part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan.
The first project, called Stateline Solar Farm, will be built in San Bernardino County, California. Using photovoltaic (PV) panels, the facility will generate 300MW and create about 400 jobs during construction and 12 permanent jobs during operations.
The facility will connect to the grid via a 2.7-mile 220kV transmission line.
The second project, called Silver State South Solar, will be located near Primm, Nevada. The 250MW facility will create around 300 jobs during construction and 15 permanent operations jobs.
Both projects are proposed by First Solar and have commitments from Southern California Edison to purchase the energy produced for 20 years.
BLM principal deputy director Neil Kornze said, "These solar projects reflect exemplary cooperation between the Bureau of Land Management and other federal, state and local agencies, enabling a thorough environmental review and robust mitigation provisions."
In an effort to reduce environmental impacts, First Solar has agreed to undertake significant project design changes and mitigation measures.
The project design of the Silver State South was altered to reduce the size of the facility by 100MW.
The US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said, "As we implement the President's Climate Action Plan to generate jobs, cut carbon pollution and move our economy towards clean energy sources, we need to do so in a way that takes the long view and avoids or minimises conflicts with important natural and cultural resources."
Since 2009, the US Interior Department approved 27 solar, 11 wind, and 12 geothermal projects. The latest approvals bring the total number of utility-scale renewable energy proposals and associated transmission to 50.