NV Energy and Solar Millenium, together with its joint venture partner MAN Ferrostaal Inc., have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop solar power facilities in Amargosa Valley.
The initial project under consideration is a 250-megawatt solar trough technology plant, the companies announced in a press release Tuesday.
A megawatt is enough power to serve roughly 675 homes; using that formula a 250 megawatt plant would be able to provide electricity to 168,750 homes.
The press release only refers to a site in Nye County. Solar Millenium has applications for rights-of-way from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for three sites in Amargosa Valley. The BLM would have to conduct an environmental impact statement on solar projects on public land, which is expected to take a year and a half to two years.
NV Energy spokesman Adam Grant said a specific site has not been announced yet but the company is looking at Amargosa Valley. He said it’s the first time NV Energy signed an MOU with a company interested in building a solar plant.
“We hope to find the support from the involved agencies to be able to permit the power plants such that we can start construction no later than 2010,” said Uwe T. Schmidt, CEO of MAN Ferrostaal Inc. “Having constructed more than 5,000 facilities around the world we are very much looking forward to building a CSP plant with NV Energy that will set a new benchmark for advanced solar energy in the U.S.”
Plans call for the project to be completed in 2013-14, depending on permitting, financing and other government approvals. The company is undertaking transmission and environmental studies, along with financing options. Grant said resource studies will be included, determining the solar potential of the location.
The plant would include thermal storage, enabling the plant to produce energy beyond daylight hours during hot summer months when electricity demand is at its highest, the companies state. That technology is being used at Solar Millenium sites in Spain, the company states.
“NV Energy is excited about being involved in storage technology that has long been talked about. As a result, we expect that our company will remain at the forefront of utilizing renewable resources and technologies in this case solar energy, for the benefit of our customers and the environment,” said Michael Yackira, president and CEO of NV Energy.
The law requires utilities like NV Energy to have 20 percent of their source of power from renewable energy by 2015. Grant said developing renewable energy resources is part of a three-fold company strategy along with energy efficiency and conservation, clean and efficient generation.
The local electric cooperative, Valley Electric Association, is not bound by a requirement to have a percentage of renewable power, unless state law is changed.
“Solar technologies have been making great strides in the last several years,” Yackira said. “It is now reasonable to believe that projects like this one will be capable of providing a reliable power supply as part of a mix of resources that will include other types of renewable resources as well as clean and efficient traditional generation such as natural gas-fired plants. Such a project as the one being studied in Nye County would also provide a boost to the local economy.”
By MARK WAITE, Pahrump Valley Times – http://www.pahrumpvalleytimes.com/2009/Mar-06-Fri-2009/news/27331524.html