SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes plant gets U.S. government’s seal of approval

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The U.S. Department of the Interior has given its seal of approval to SolarReserve’s Nevada-based Crescent Dunes solar thermal plant. Construction work on the 110MW plant is scheduled to begin in mid-2011, with total costs for the project expected to be around US$475 million.

“Crescent Dunes joins a host of renewable energy projects on public lands in the West that are opening a new chapter on how our nation is powered,” said the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar. “Using American ingenuity, we are creating jobs, stimulating local economies and spurring a sustainable, clean energy industrial base that will strengthen our nation’s energy security.”

Crescent Dunes will be fitted with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s solar power and molten salt storage technology and the electricity generated by the plant is to be sold to NV Energy, which signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with SolarReserve last December.

“As our lead project in the U.S., we are gratified with the stellar support we received from the Tonopah BLM office, officials from Nye County and the town of Tonopah, NV Energy and Nellis Air Force Base,” said SolarReserve’s CEO, Kevin Smith. “We have also received strong support from Washington, DC, with Senator Reid’s relentless assistance on the project.

“In addition to the Department of the Interior’s activities on this Record of Decision, the Department of Energy is processing the project through the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program. Completing this project will establish this American technology as the leading solution worldwide for solar energy with integrated energy storage.”

The facility is expected to have an operating budget of more than US$5 million and will generate about US$40 million in sales and property tax revenues over its operating life.

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