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The project, known as the Quartzsite Solar Energy Project, will be built on a 1,600 acre site owned by the Bureau of Land Management. Once complete, the 100-megawatt facility will generate enough power for about 30,000 homes.

According to the project's website, it will feature a collection of mirrors and a 653-foot tower to capture and concentrate energy from the sun's heat, then create steam to power turbine generators.

The project will employ about 47 people and create 438 jobs during its construction.

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Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior

An artist's rendering of the future Quartzsite Solar Energy Project

Interior also approved a 350-megawatt solar project for Boulder City, Nevada and a geothermal plant in Lovelock, Nevada Monday. Together, the three projects will generate enough electricity to power nearly 200,000 homes.

They're the first renewable energy projects on public lands to be approved by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell since she took office in April.

The agency has approved 45 renewable energy projects since 2009, including solar sites, wind farms and geothermal plants, with about 15 more planned in the next two years.

All proposals, including the one approved for Quartzsite, must undergo an environmental review on impact to water, wildlife and other resources.

More resources:
Department of the Interior's renewable energy resources site

Read the Quartzsite Solar fact sheet: View at Google Docs | Download File