The world's largest molten salt solar power plant reached a major milestone this week when the tower was completed by SolarReserve, the U.S. developer of the large-scale solar power project.  The 540-foot solar power tower is a critical part of the company's 110 megawatt (MW) Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant near Tonopah, Nevada.

When completed, the Crescent Dunes Plant will be the nation’s first commercial-scale solar power facility with fully integrated energy storage and the largest power plant of its kind in the world.  The molten salt technology used in the plant, which was developed in the U.S., has the ability to store energy for 10-15 hours.  As a result, this new power plant will be able to deliver electricity on demand, just as coal, natural gas or nuclear fueled plants do but without emitting any harmful pollution or hazardous materials.

The Crescent Dunes project is jointly owned by SolarReserve, ACS Cobra, a worldwide leader in the engineering and construction of power plants and solar thermal facilities, and Santander, a global financial services and banking leader. ACS Cobra’s Nevada-based affiliate, Cobra Thermosolar Plants Inc., is the general contractor for the project and is utilizing Nevada and regional subcontractors to perform the work.

Construction of the facility began in September of 2011 and currently has over 100 workers on site.  Construction is expected to peak at more than 600 jobs on site during the 30-month construction period and is estimated to create more than 4,300 direct, indirect and induced jobs at companies throughout the U.S. that provide engineering, equipment supply and manufacturing, transportation and other value-added services. The plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2013.

John J.P. Howley
Woodbridge, New Jersey

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