Company announces purchase of long-lead materials and equipment for lead solar energy projects.
SANTA MONICA, Calif. [WorldofRenewables.com]
SolarReserve, a U.S. developer of utility-scale solar power projects, today announced it is proceeding with purchases of long-lead materials and equipment as it advances in financing arrangements with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program for its Crescent Dunes Energy Project in Tonopah, Nevada, and Rice Solar Energy Project in Riverside County, California. Both projects are set to break ground in 2011 after receipt of final environmental permits and completion of the DOE financing activities.
Together, the projects will generate an estimated 10,400 direct and indirect jobs in the manufacturing supply, design and construction of zero-emission solar power facilities to provide renewable energy for up to 150,000 homes. Both projects use the advanced molten salt, power tower technology developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a division of United Technologies Corporation. The innovative technology features integrated energy storage to generate electricity on demand, even after the sun goes down, providing utilities with firm, reliable and renewable energy. This technology can replace conventional power generation that produces harmful emissions from burning coal, natural gas and oil.
“Our decision to proceed with the procurement of long-lead materials and our progress in advancing DOE-supported financing are key milestones in our construction of power plants based upon this gamechanging, U.S.-developed and tested solar technology,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of SolarReserve. “The DOE played a pivotal role in supporting the development of this technology through its association with the Solar Two project in the late 1990s. We are pleased to be working with the DOE in the full commercial launch of this innovative technology as a clear demonstration of American energy leadership in generating clean energy while creating significant regional employment.”
The 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project located in Nye County, Nevada, near the town of Tonopah, has been designated by the Department of Interior as a fast-track applicant for right of way use of federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The project, which, in 2009 secured a 25-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy and approved by the Public Utility Commission of Nevada in July, has completed its environmental impact study and is targeted to receive a record of decision from the Department of Interior before the end of the year.
The 150-megawatt Rice Solar Energy Project in eastern Riverside County, California, sited on previously disturbed private land, is currently under review by the California Energy Commission with a final decision also anticipated before the end of the year. The project has secured a 25-year power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) that was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in September of this year.
“We are working closely with the DOE Loan Guarantee Program staff to efficiently and effectively progress the financing of these breakthrough projects,” said Michael Whalen, SolarReserve chief financial officer. “Tonopah and Rice will feature the inherent energy storage capabilities of this U.S.-developed solar thermal power technology, which means dependable production of clean power at an affordable price. The support of the DOE under the Section 1705 Program will be critical to realizing the benefits of these projects to regional employment and to our environment.”
SolarReserve applied for participation in the Loan Guarantee Program under the DOE’s July 2009 solicitation for innovative renewable technologies pursuant to under the Section 1705 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Both projects successfully advanced through Parts I and II of the DOE’s extensive application review process. DOE and SolarReserve are advancing the arrangements for the financing terms and conditions available under the DOE’s Section 1705 Program.
SolarReserve, LLC – headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif. – is a solar energy project development company developing large-scale solar energy projects worldwide. It holds the exclusive worldwide license to the molten salt, solar power tower technology developed by United Technologies Corporation. Since its formation in late 2007, SolarReserve’s team of power project professionals have assembled a concentrated solar power development portfolio of more than 25 projects featuring its licensed solar power technology with potential output of more than 3,000 megawatts in the United States and Europe; with early stage activities in other international markets. SolarReserve is also developing 1,100 MW of photovoltaic projects across the Western United States, and is actively acquiring new sites to add to the pipeline. SolarReserve’s experienced management team has previously developed and financed more than $15 billion in renewable and conventional energy projects in more than a dozen countries around the world.
SolarReserve’s molten salt, concentrating solar power tower technology was successfully demonstrated in California under a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored pilot project in the late 1990s. The 10-megawatt pilot facility utilized a molten salt receiver designed, engineered and assembled by Rocketdyne, now a part of United Technologies Corporation.