Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved a big solar energy plant in the Mojave Desert, making it the fifth such project on western U.S. public lands to win federal authorization.
Salazar's approval Wednesday authorizes the Bureau of Land Management to offer Tessera Solar use of more than 4,600 acres for 30 years to build the Calico Solar Project.
The Interior Department says the 663.5-megawatt project could power 200,000 to 500,000 homes.
Houston-based Tessera originally sought more than 8,200 acres, but the BLM wanted to limit impacts on the endangered desert tortoise.
The project next faces a hearing before the California Energy Commission.
The Interior Department approved three other projects this month on U.S. lands in California and one in Nevada.