Monday, Dec. 20, 2010 | 12:55 p.m.
Sen. Harry Reid announced Monday that the Department of Interior gave its final approval for Nevada’s first solar thermal plant, a project Reid said is also likely to create about 500 jobs.
The 110-megawatt Crescent Dune Solar Energy Project, based in Nye County, is the design of California-based developer SolarReserve, and is expected to produce enough energy to power up to 75,000 homes during peak demand seasons.
It's unique among the state’s existing solar plants because of a heat storage technology that allows the turbines to keep working even after the sun has set. Slated to be completed in 2013, the project will eventually cover about 3,000 acres near Tonopah. NV Energy is expected to purchase whatever power is generated for distribution.
“Clean energy projects like Crescent Dunes not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but put Nevadans back to work,” Reid said. “I will continue leveraging my position as Majority Leader to make certain that Nevada always leads the nation in the creation of clean energy jobs.”
The news comes a few days after Reid announced $50 million in funding for a Solar Demonstration Zone at the Nevada National Security Site — there are seven “solar energy zones” around the state, a designation that aids expediting permitting processes to bring commercial solar projects online.