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

November 03, 2004

DOE to Help Install Concentrating Solar Power in the West

Photo of row upon row of trough-shaped mirrors gathering sunlight.

This concentrating solar power plant, built in California in the 1980s, may be joined by 1000 megawatts of similar plants by 2010.
Credit: Warren Gretz, NREL

DOE announced on November 3rd that it will support efforts to install a total of 1000 megawatts of concentrating solar power (CSP) systems in seven western states by 2010. CSP systems involve focusing and collecting the sun's heat and converting it into electricity, and are best suited for hot, sunny desert climates. With that in mind, the Western Governor's Association (WGA) is backing a five-year, $1,860,000 effort to encourage CSP installations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. Through a cooperative, cost-shared agreement with WGA, DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will provide $90,000 for the first year and offer its CSP expertise over the life of the project. WGA and the involved states will provide $61,690 toward the project in the first year, and WGA expects to provide additional funding in the future.

During the project's first year, participants expect to form a stakeholder group, develop a process by which stakeholders in the region can achieve the 1000-megawatt goal, and possibly form a utility consortium. The effort supports on-going projects in several states, including a 1-megawatt CSP plant being built in Arizona, a 50-megawatt CSP plant slated for Nevada in 2005, a New Mexico task force to determine the most appropriate CSP technology for the state, and a California task force that is developing a wide-ranging strategy to advance solar energy. See the DOE press release, and for more information about CSP technologies, see DOE's Solar Energy Technologies Web site.