Agreement Moves Nevada Solar Plant Step Closer to Reality

For more information contact:
Kerry Masson 303/275-4083
e:mail: Public Affairs

Golden, Colo., Oct. 3, 1996 -- The transformation of a Nevada desert into a showcase for solar energy took a step forward today with the signing of an agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Corporation for Solar Technology and Renewable Resources (CSTRR) of Las Vegas, Nev.

CSTRR is the not-for-profit corporation created in 1995 to develop a Solar Enterprise Zone in Nevada, an area that includes the Nevada Test Site, a Department of Defense facility better known for its cold-war role in the testing of nuclear weapons. CSTRR's mission is to develop a market and build a commercial facility capable of generating 100 megawatts of electricity from renewable energy technologies.

DOE Assistant Secretary Christine Ervin, CSTRR President Rose McKinney-James and NREL Director Dr. Charles Gay today signed a memorandum of understanding at NREL that frames NREL's assistance to CSTRR in development of the renewable energy site.

"This project has great symbolism and substance," Ervin said. "Development of the Solar Enterprise Zone means jobs and economic growth for Nevada. It also means producing environmentally-friendly renewable energy at a site previously known for nuclear weapon testing."

Under the new partnership, NREL will make available its facilities to test renewable energy technologies, help identify and develop markets for the electricity generated by the facility, support creation and production of public information materials and help advance the Nevada project's mission.

"The partnership between CSTRR and NREL is a vital component in the future of solar technology in Nevada," McKinney-James said. "With NREL's expertise and resources, CSTRR's goal of delivering 100 megawatts to Nevada is that much more obtainable. In addition, CSTRR and NREL, with a common goal, are well positioned as a team to pursue future projects in surrounding areas."

CSTRR is reviewing proposals from companies vying for the job of delivering electricity from photovoltaic (solar), wind, solar thermal and other renewable technologies. NREL will support the efforts of DOE's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) to develop customers and markets for the electricity. FEMP and CSTRR will host a conference Oct. 29 - 30 in Las Vegas to explore marketing the site's power to utilities and federal facilities in the region.