The federal government has just approved a 100-megawatt solar power plant to go up near Quartzsite, Arizona, a project that will have a largely positive impact for the local economy and power grid.
The Quartzsite Solar Energy Project is in development by SolarReserve, a California-based company, and is scheduled to be operational by 2015. Once construction starts next year, it will create 438 short-term jobs and 50 full-time jobs for La Paz County residents.
The plant will use “power tower” technology, meaning a central tower filled with molten salt will capture and hold heat, generate steam, and then generate electricity. It is estimated that the project will produce enough power for more than 30,000 homes.
The project will be located on land that is part of the 192,000+ acres set aside in Arizona for solar and wind energy development. It will also use a “dry cooling” method that does not tap into the valuable water supply.
Overall, this project should be a positive move for the local economy, with a decent shot of new clean power to boot.
Image: Bureau of Land Management. Artist’s rendering of the concentrated solar power plant proposed for SolarReserve’s plant near Quartzsite.