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

January 08, 2003

Fifty-Megawatt Solar Thermal Power Plant Planned for Nevada

Sierra Pacific Resources announced in late December that its two Nevada-based utility subsidiaries have contracted to buy power from a 50-megawatt solar thermal power plant. Duke Solar Energy LLC plans to build the facility in Eldorado Valley, near Boulder City, Nevada. The companies will now make filings with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN), which will review the contracts and determine whether they should be approved.

The contracts are part of the two utilities' actions to comply with a state law that requires them to use renewable energy. The utilities must increase their use of renewable energy by 2 percent every third year until renewable energy accounts for 15 percent of their total energy sales. Solar power must provide at least 5 percent of the renewable energy. See the press release on the Duke Solar Web site.

Currently, the only commercial solar thermal power plants in the United States are located in the Mojave Desert of California. Nine plants were built there in the late 1980s and early 1990s, producing a total of 354 megawatts of solar power. See the Solar Trough Power Plants Web page, provided by DOE's SunLab.