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Panel OKs $2 Billion SoCal Solar Energy Plant

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(Credit: AP Photo/Solar Systems)

(Credit: AP Photo/Solar Systems)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The future looks bright for a huge solar energy project on public land in the Mojave Desert.

The California Energy Commission on Wednesday approved construction of a 370-megawatt plant in San Bernardino County even though it would encompass habitat of the endangered desert tortoise.

Environmentalists wanted the $2 billion project relocated to less environmentally sensitive land.

The developer, Oakland-based BrightSource Energy, says it will generate 1,000 jobs and provide enough power for 140,000 homes.

Construction could start this year near the Nevada border, about 200 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
The project still needs federal approval.

Last week, the energy commission approved the Blythe Solar Power Project, a $4 billion plant that would power 800,000 homes in Riverside County.

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