Orsted confirmed a final investment decision (FID) on almost half a gigawatt at its Mockingbird Solar Centre power plant in the US state of Texas that includes donating almost 1,000 acres of tall grass prairie for conservation.

The 470MW power plant will cover some 4,900-acres and power 80,000 homes, making it the largest solar PV project in the Danish renewable energy giant's offshore wind-dominated portfolio.

The FID follows Orsted’s 2021 signing of a ten-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with global health and nutrition Royal DSM. The company didn’t disclose the terms of the FID or PPA.

“The decision to build Mockingbird represents an important milestone for our onshore business and for our expansion in solar PV,” said David Hardy, CEO of the Americas region at Orsted.

Orsted will donate nearly 1,000 acres of rare, native tallgrass prairie to The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a global environmental non-profit that specialises in acquiring threatened landscapes for preservation.

Less than 1% of the original tallgrass prairies of Texas survive today, less than 5% remains nationally, and the Orsted-TNC conservation effort will be the largest preservation endeavour for such ecosystems.

The project is expected to inject over $215m into the local economy and generate 200 construction and operations and maintenance jobs over its lifetime.

Including the Mockingbird plant, Orsted has some 5.5GW of onshore renewable capacity in operation or under construction, including 1.8GW of solar and the remainder in wind and storage.

Last October, the company sold its 50% stake in the onshore wind farms Lincoln Land, Plum Creek, and Willow Creek, as well as the Muscle Shoals PV project, spread across four US states, for $410m as part of its asset rotation strategy of selling projects already operational or nearing completion to fund continued expansion.

The offshore wind pacesetter with over 4GW of pipeline in the US has made a strong commitment to onshore renewables and is on track to reach a total of 17.5GW capacity globally by the end of 2030.

Orsted is targeting the installation of 50GW of renewable energy by the end of 2030, including 30GW offshore wind.