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NextEra Energy to turn Iowa’s only nuclear facility into a solar farm

NextEra Energy nuclear solar

NextEra Energy, the Florida-based energy company, announced its plans to build a 690-megawatt solar project at the site of its already-closed Duane Arnold nuclear plant, in Iowa.

Firstly, the company had shut the nuclear reactor of the site in August, 2020, after a massive storm damaged the plant’s cooling towers. However, the site was already scheduled to close, only two months later, in October, 2020.

Secondly, as the nuclear plant didn’t fit anymore with the state’s increasingly wind and solar energy portfolios, the company closed the site. However, NextEra still provides clean energy from seven nuclear power units in Florida.

Thirdly, the Duane Arnold Solar Project will have a total capacity of 690 MW, as said above. Slightly more output than the original 615 MW nuclear reactor. With the distinction, also, that Duane Arnold Solar will have 60 MW of a storage energy system.

Moreover, such energy is the equivalent of the energy consumption of 600,000 homes. Duane Arnold Solar will encompass approximately 3,500 acres. As the project is still subject to regulatory approval, the company expects to have it running by the end of 2023.

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NextEra Clearwater Montana Wind

NextEra energy also developing Montana’s largest wind farm

In addition, the estimated investments reached the $700 million figure. When approvals are ready and the project enters into its construction phase, it will generate more than 300 construction jobs in the state.

Consequently, the revenue for the state will also be substantial. NextEra Energy estimates around $41,6 million in tax revenue; and $50 million in payments to the landowners involved in the area in which the solar farm will be.

On the other hand, Duane Arnold is not the only project for the company; back in January, NextEra Energy unveiled that it would start the construction of the largest wind farm in Montana; the Clearwater Wind project.

Clearwater wind farm would reach Rosebud, Custer and Garfield counties in Montana, as it will plug into the grid at Colstrip substation, targeting the markets in the Pacific Northwest. It will provide up to 750 megawatts of clean energy, which makes it the biggest wind farm in the state.

According to NextEra’s spokesperson, Lisa Paul, “construction on Clearwater will begin in 2021; it would become operational in 2022.” Finally, on March 19, NextEra Energy announced a series of meeting with investors. The meeting will happen along March and April. Mainly, the meetings will discuss the growth expectancy and the company, and its performance in the stock market.

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