NV Energy, Inc. (NV Energy) and Solar Millennium, LLC (Solar Millennium), a subsidiary of Solar Millennium AG, together with its joint venture partner MAN Ferrostaal Inc. (MAN Ferrostaal), have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of one or more solar power facilities in southern Nevada. As per the MoU, the companies are studying thermal storage technology that is similar to that being used at some Solar Millennium projects in Spain.

The initial project under consideration is a 250 megawatt (MW) solar trough technology plant at a site located in Nye county, which includes thermal storage.

The solar trough technology enables the plant to produce energy beyond daylight hours during hot summer months when power demand is high. The project is expected to be completed in 2013-14, depending on permitting, financing and other government approvals.

They are also undertaking transmission and environmental studies, and reviewing financing options.

Christian Beltle, chief executive officer (CEO) of Solar Millennium AG, and Josef Eichhammer, CEO of Solar Millennium, expressed that solar thermal power can make an important contribution to renewable energy in Nevada and to its economy.

A decision to proceed with development and, finally, construction will be subject to this ongoing research and approval by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.

“Solar technologies have been making great strides in the last several years,” said Michael Yackira, president and CEO of NV Energy. “It is now reasonable to believe that projects like this one will be capable of providing reliable power supply as part of a mix of resources that will include other types of renewable resources as well as clean and efficient traditional generation such as natural gas-fired plants. Such a project as the one being studied in Nye County would also provide a boost to the local economy.”

Christian Beltle added: “We hope to find the support from the involved agencies to be able to permit the power plants such that we can start construction no later than 2010.”

Uwe T. Schmidt, CEO of MAN Ferrostaal, emphasized: “Having constructed more than 5,000 facilities around the world we are very much looking forward to building a CSP plant with NV Energy that will set a new benchmark for advanced solar energy in the U.S.”

Yackira added, “NV Energy is excited about being involved in storage technology that has long been talked about. As a result, we expect that our company will remain at the forefront of utilizing renewable resources and technologies, in this case solar energy, for the benefit of our customers and the environment.”