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Nevada Desert Site Chosen to Demonstrate CSP Technology

July 23, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) announced on July 8 that they will collaborate on a new Solar Demonstration Zone in the Nevada desert to demonstrate cutting-edge, concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. DOE Secretary Steven Chu and DOI Secretary Ken Salazar were joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada in announcing the special zone, which will link DOE's technology development with full-scale commercialization efforts.

The 25-square-mile zone is in the southwest corner of the Nevada Test Site, a former nuclear testing site, on land owned by the DOI's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and administered by DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration. DOE selected the site after reviewing 26 possible locations, evaluating factors including solar conditions, suitable terrain, and existing infrastructure to support solar projects. DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will oversee the demonstration of the CSP technologies. Following planning and reviews, construction of demonstration projects is scheduled to begin in September 2011.

"The Nevada Test Site is about to play a new role in securing America's future—but instead of testing nuclear weapons, we will test new solar technologies that will help put America on a sustainable energy path," said Secretary Chu. Secretary Salazar added, "These projects on BLM land in Nevada can significantly reduce the costs and environmental impacts of utility-scale solar power facilities and demonstrate the commercial viability of these facilities.”

The Solar Demonstration Zone will complement BLM's 24 Solar Energy Study Areas on federal lands across the Southwest by helping to ensure that the most advanced CSP technologies are ready for commercial deployment.

DOE is planning to create funding opportunities for demonstration projects in the zone that will include matching investments from the private sector. In addition to collaborating with each other, BLM and DOE are working closely with the U.S. Air Force to identify and address potential problems with operating the demonstration zone.

For additional information, see the DOE press release, DOE's CSP page, and BLM's renewable energy Web site.

Sources:  July 14 article in EERE Network News published by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the July 8 DOE press release.


—Karen Atkison