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A new town will rise from the desert near Hobbs, New Mexico, complete with homes, businesses, streets and traffic lights — but nobody will live there. A nearly identical twin to the city of Rock Hill, South Carolina, the $1 billion “scientific ghost town” will serve only as a testing ground for next-generation innovations and technologies, including renewable energy.

The privately financed Center for Innovation, Testing & Evaluation (CITE) will be a scale model of a “typical American town of 35,000.” Just like any other town in the nation, it will have its urban, suburban and rural areas, power, water, communications and operating systems. Built and managed by Pegasus Global Holdings, CITE will take tech out of laboratories, universities, federal agencies and the private sector and see how it fares in real-life applications.

Each day, the eerily silent and still town will be entered by a percentage of the 350 employees that will be hired to carry out the tests. The project is expected to indirectly create an additional 3,500 jobs through construction, contractors and supporting industry. Renewable energy technologies of various kinds, including solar and wind, will be integrated into existing, out-dated infrastructure, just as they would be in real, functioning towns.

According to Pegasus Holdings, CITE will also be home to a transportation network combining high-speed, urban canyon, suburban and rural roads to test new Intelligent Transportation Systems of the sort that are already advancing in Europe and Asia. Homeland Security will play a major role as well, with a secure testing area for first-responder technology.

Located near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, a nuclear waste dump set to be topped with rather frightening spiky sculptures accompanied by a warning message, CITE almost seems to serve as a counterpoint to dangerous and environmentally harmful energy sources, illustrating the possibility of a cleaner future.