STATUS: In progress
OPPOSITION: U.S. Air Force
BACKGROUND: In 2007, SolarReserve, a solar company based in California, proposed a $700 million solar thermal power plant, covering two square miles near the Nellis Air Force base in Nevada, an area where the sun shines brightly virtually all year long. By using the molten-salt method, it could store 10 hours of power supply, making energy available 24 hours a day. The plant would have a 100 megawatts capacity, enough to power about 50,000 homes. Construction was estimated to take about two years, and would create 450 construction jobs and up to 4,000 jobs for local suppliers.
SolarReserve negotiated with the Air Force for 18 months and at the Air Force’s suggestion, revised its plans once to move the plant 25 miles away from the base. The installation commander at the base, said the solar plant would compromise classified aspects of the Air Force's training range and would interfere with radar. He said the Air Force was recommending that the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which owns most of the land in the state, reject the proposal. Belote also suggested that SolarReserve try another site, either 100 miles to the southeast or about 80 miles to the northeast, near the town of Mesquite, however doing so would mean starting the project from scratch.
As a result of opposition, Solar Reserve revised the location of the project to Crescent Dunes. As of December 2009, the Air Force has signed off on the project and sent a letter to the BLM approving Crescent Dunes’ location. The BLM held a public hearing on the draft environmental impact statement for the project on September 3, 2010. The Project is expected to be completed in 2013.
SOURCES: Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/19/AR2009061903404.html;
The Cutting Edge News: http://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=11411;
National Renewable Energy Lab: http://www.nrel.gov/csp/solarpaces/project_detail.cfm/projectID=60;
Las Vegas Review Journal: http://www.lvrj.com/business/Utility-aims-to-salt-away-solar-power-79882157.html;
Pahrump Valley Times: http://pvtimes.com/news/solar-reserve-eis-hearing-set-in-tonopah/
Last updated November 18, 2010