SolarReserve, a developer of utility-scale solar power projects, says it is proceeding with purchases of long-lead materials and equipment as it advances in financing arrangements with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) loan-guarantee program for its Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Tonopah, Nev., and Rice Solar Energy Project in Riverside County, Calif. Both projects are set to break ground in 2011 after receipt of final environmental permits and completion of the DOE financing activities.
Both projects use the molten-salt power tower technology developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. The technology features integrated energy storage to generate electricity on demand, even after daylight hours.
The 110 MW Crescent Dunes project has been designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) as a fast-track applicant for right-of-way use of federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The project, which secured a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with NV Energy in 2009 and was approved by the Public Utility Commission of Nevada in July, has completed its environmental impact study and is expected to receive a record of decision from the DOI before the end of the year.
The 150 MW Rice project is currently under review by the California Energy Commission, with a final decision also anticipated before the end of the year. The project has secured a 25-year PPA with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. that was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in September.
SolarReserve applied for participation in the loan-guarantee program under the DOE's July 2009 solicitation for innovative renewable technologies pursuant to Section 1705 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Both projects successfully advanced through Parts I and II of the DOE's extensive application-review process. The DOE and SolarReserve are advancing the arrangements for the financing terms and conditions available under the Section 1705 program.