NextEra wants to build solar farm at closed Iowa nuclear plant

(Reuters) - U.S. energy company NextEra Energy Inc said this week it wants to build a 690-megawatt (MW) solar project at the site of its closed Duane Arnold nuclear plant in Iowa.

NextEra’s NextEra Energy Resources unit proposed to build the $700 million project, which it said on its website will create about 300 construction jobs.

The company shut the nuclear reactor in August 2020 after a massive storm damaged the plant’s cooling towers. NextEra had planned to retire the plant in October 2020.

NextEra Energy Resources, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy via wind and sun, operates solar projects in 27 states, according to the company’s website.

The Iowa project will encompass about 3,500 acres and is scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2023.

With the Biden administration seeking to get all of the nation’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2035, Iowa is well on its way to transitioning away from dirty fossil fuels, like coal, to cleaner forms of energy like wind and solar.

Wind generated 58% of the power produced in the state in 2020, with the rest mostly coming from coal (24%), natural gas (12%), nuclear (5%) and hydro (1%), according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

One megawatt can power about 1,000 U.S. homes.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Richard Chang