NREL Supports Development of World's Largest Solar Electric Power Plant Project in 14 Years
October 19, 2005
Golden, Colo. — Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have collaborated with Solargenix Energy on the solar collector technology to be used in the development of Nevada Solar One, a 64-megawatt (MW) Solar Thermal Electric Generating Plant in Boulder City, Nev.
"We are excited to have the opportunity to support Solargenix with this groundbreaking achievement," said Mark Mehos, program manager for NREL's Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) program. "Given today's natural gas prices combined with tax incentives offered in the recently passed energy bill, utilities and investors are showing a lot of interest in the development of large-scale concentrating solar power plants. This is the first in line of a string of new large-scale domestic and international CSP projects."
Solargenix recently announced the approval of amendments to their Power Purchase Agreements with Nevada Power Company and Sierra Pacific Power Company by the Public Utility Commission of Nevada (PUCN). This approval by the PUCN will allow Solargenix to complete the development of Nevada Solar One, the largest solar electric power plant to be built globally in the past 14 years and the third largest solar power plant in the world. This project will make Nevada one of the largest generators of solar energy in the United States.
"We are most appreciative of all of the efforts by the many participants that helped make Nevada's Renewal Energy Portfolio standard possible, including the PUCN, Governor Guinn, the Nevada State Legislature, the Nevada Bureau of Consumer Protection, Nevada Power Company, Sierra Pacific Power Company, the Nevada Development Authority and all of the citizens of Boulder City," said Solargenix CEO John Myles. Myles also explained that "many people are not familiar with concentrating solar thermal technology or its proven track record and capability to play a significant role in addressing many of the most important energy issues that confront America and the rest of the world."
According to published information from DOE through its national laboratories, the parabolic trough technology used in this plant represents one of the major renewable energy success stories of the past two decades and has a near-term potential to compete directly with conventional fossil fuel powered technologies.
In addition, DOE has issued a report that identifies suitable land and solar resources in Nevada that could produce more than 600,000 megawatts (MW) of power generation using concentrating solar technologies. Currently, Nevada's electricity consumption is less than 3 percent of this resource capacity. The same report claims that the economic benefits far exceed the cost to develop this clean renewable energy source.
The Boulder City plant located in the El Dorado Valley is scheduled to begin production of electricity in early 2007. Solargenix Energy, headquartered in North Carolina, established its western U. S. base of operations in Las Vegas, Nev., five years ago. Solargenix has collaborated with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and NREL on a series of solar research, design and development projects that have resulted in measurable success. Additionally, Solargenix has been recognized by DOE as a leading company in the development of solar thermal energy technology and related projects.
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.