The Department of Interior on Monday gave its approval to Solar Millennium’s 500-MW Amargosa Farm Road Solar Project, the second large-scale solar power project on U.S. public lands in Nevada.

The concentrating solar power (CSP) project will employ two 250-MW parabolic trough plants, each equipped with dry-cooled technology. It will be located in the Amargosa Valley about 80 miles northwest of the town of Las Vegas, in Nye County, Nevada, on 4,350 acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

According to the DOI, the project has undergone extensive environmental review, starting with public scoping and followed by a draft environmental impact statement with full public involvement and a final Environmental Impact Statement published on October 15. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed the Record of Decision for the project on Monday.

The project has reportedly been redesigned to have a “net neutral benefit” on the plant and animal species found nearby at the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and Devils Hole. BLM said it worked with German company Solar Millennium to reduce the approved project footprint from 7,630 acres to 6,320 acres with a disturbance area of 4,350 acres. The federal agency also requires a natural color palette and minimum night lighting measures to reduce visual impacts on the local community.

Solar Millennium is now eligible for approximately $1 billion in Investment Tax credits. The company is also eligible to apply for financing through the DOE Loan Guarantee. Solar Millennium is currently negotiating a power purchase agreement with NV Energy, but it is expected that power will be supplied to the grid through Valley Electric Association’s transmission lines.

Last month, crews broke ground on the 235-mile One Nevada Transmission Line system. When completed, the 500-kV line will extend from north of Las Vegas, Nev.,  to Burley, Idaho, providing a critical link for the northern and southern power grids serving Nevada. The line is expected to provide the transmission infrastructure needed to make proposed wind, solar, and geothermal power generation projects throughout Nevada viable.

Sources: DOI, POWERnews