Solar Millennium, the project development unit of Solar Trust of America, will use advanced dry-cooling technology for its two proposed solar thermal power plants being developed by the company in the Amargosa Valley outside Las Vegas. The company has a memorandum of understanding with NV Energy for development and construction of one or two, 242 MW concentrated solar power plants to be located 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
The decision to employ dry-cooling technology follows due diligence that took into account unique environmental and ecological considerations including wetlands and wildlife habitats, water conservation and land usage, and state and federal government renewable energy initiatives and policies. Following a series of local public hearings and ongoing discussions with regulatory authorities and environmental groups, it was determined that dry-cooling was in the best interests of the Amargosa Valley community and its economic development plans. Dry-cooling technology requires less water usage that conventional wet-cooling systems with no carbon emissions.
The proposed power plants, valued at more than $1.5 billion each, are expected to directly employ at each plant up to 800 skilled workers during the initial construction phase and create about 100 permanent jobs for operations, maintenance and management employees. They are also expected to indirectly create thousands of additional jobs as Solar Trust of America procures materials, goods and services locally for each facility. Together with its wholly owned U.S. project development subsidiary, Berkeley-based Solar Millennium, LLC, and global business partners Solar Millennium AG and MAN Ferrostaal AG, Solar Trust of America is pursuing the construction and development of multiple solar thermal power plants across the southwestern U.S.
In addition to the Amargosa Valley project, the company currently has solar thermal energy power plants in advanced stages of development in Ridgecrest, Blythe and Palen, California. Last week those projects were placed on the Department of Interior’s “fast track” list to expedite the permitting process and meet eligibility requirements for economic stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.