This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 14, 2010

DOE and DOI Pick Solar Demonstration Site in the Nevada Desert

DOE and the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) announced on July 8 that they will collaborate on a new "solar demonstration zone" to demonstrate cutting-edge concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will facilitate all activities required to successfully implement the demonstration of advanced solar technologies in the area. The 25-square-mile demonstration 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. Following planning and reviews, construction of demonstration projects is scheduled for September 2011. The demonstration zone will serve as a proving ground for new solar technologies, providing a critical link between DOE's advanced technology development activities and full-scale commercialization efforts.

CSP systems concentrate the sun's energy and capture that energy as heat, which then drives an engine or turbine to produce electrical power. The solar demonstration zone will complement BLM's establishment of 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. Plans are underway to create a new DOE funding opportunity for demonstration projects at the Nevada Test Site that will include matching investments from the private sector. DOE selected the demonstration zone after evaluating 26 locations for suitable solar conditions, terrain, and infrastructure to support solar energy projects. 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. See the DOE press release, the MOU (PDF 135 KB), DOE's CSP page, and BLM's renewable energy Web site. Download Adobe Reader.