The first concentrating solar power (CSP) project in the US that uses molten salt for energy storage, has moved forward with the offer of a Department of Energy (DOE) $737 million loan guarantee.
SolarReserve's 110 MW Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Nevada would be the first of its kind in the US and the tallest molten salt tower in the world, at 640 feet.
About 17,500 heliostats would capture and focus the sun's thermal energy, while the molten salt storage system would store the energy for up to ten hours.
Energy storage capacity is critical for solar energy to be able to provide steady, uninterrupted power throughout the day and night and even under cloudy conditions.
This increases grid stability and reduces the need for carbon pollution emitting generators, which currently supplement intermittent renewable generation technologies during periods of no or low solar resources.
The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy facility is expected to avoid nearly 290,000 tons of carbon pollution annually, or the equivalent of 20% of the annual generation of an average coal-fired plant in the U.S. The project is also expected to produce approximately 500,000 megawatt hours annually, enough to power over 43,000 homes.
Power from the project will be sold to Nevada Power Company, a utility subsidiary of NV Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NVE) and will help NV Energy meet its Renewable Portfolio Standard goals for Nevada as well as its evening load requirements.
Located 14 miles northwest of Tonopah, Nevada on 2,250 acres leased from the Bureau of Land Management, the company anticipates the facility will create 600 renewable energy jobs and 45 operations jobs.
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