Statement from Kevin B. Smith – Chief Executive Officer, SolarReserve LLC:
Thank you Mr. Secretary. I am honored to be here and to say a few words on behalf of my company, SolarReserve, and the five other solar energy companies here this morning. These companies represent just a small part of a competitive and growing worldwide market for solar energy.
In President Obama’s address to the U.S. Chamber of Congress, he challenged the business community to “get in the game” by investing in America, generating jobs, and creating “the next generation of big ideas.” I am pleased to say that SolarReserve and the five companies here, are “in the game” – we’re developing innovative solar technologies and gearing up to build clean energy projects across the United States. We’re proud to be doing our part to “win the future” – a future that we believe will be powered, in large measure, by renewable energy.
There is a lot of discussion in Washington about what the government should be doing to help create jobs. These companies and the projects we are planning to build are examples of what the government is doing to cooperate with the business community to create jobs and build our domestic energy industry at the same time.
The near term projects under development by just the handful of companies represented here are estimated to create in excess of 10,000 construction and manufacturing jobs in the US over the next two to three years and more than 25,000 direct and indirect jobs when accounting for offsite supporting activities. Once these projects go into commercial operation they will spend tens of millions of dollars per year in operational budgets and pay tens of millions of dollars in local taxes — contributing to workers’ paychecks, service businesses, local school systems and police and fire departments. Many of these projects are located in hard hit rural areas.
These projects represent some first-of-a-kind technologies and some of the world’s largest and most efficient solar energy projects. SolarReserve’s ground-breaking energy storage technology was developed in the US and can generate solar energy on demand – day or night, to meet utility peak demand requirements without interruption and without burning fossil fuels.
While we are all competitors, we are here in a united front to express our appreciation to President Obama and his administration as well as the Departments of Interior, Energy and Agriculture. The administration’s support in extending the 1603 Treasury grant as well as the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee program are critical programs that are crucial to these projects successfully proceeding into construction. In addition, the Department of Interior has opened up public lands and provided strong support to permit these projects on an expedited basis, working overtime in order unlock capital and create jobs.
Today, America’s solar energy industry is at a crossroads, we will either move forward to build an industry in the US that can compete in the world markets or we will be destined to the shadows of more aggressive countries. Supporting and extending existing programs like the DOE Loan Guarantee Program and initiating new programs, such as a Clean Energy Standard, will dictate which direction we take as a nation.
In conclusion, I would like to sincerely thank Secretaries Salazar, Chu and Vilsack and their departments for all of their hard work and support – let’s go forward together to get these projects built, establish the U.S. as a leader in solar energy technology, and create a brighter energy future.
SolarReserve’s lead projects in the U.S. include the Crescent Dunes Energy Project in Tonopah, Nevada, and Rice Solar Energy Project in Riverside County, California. Both projects are set to break ground in 2011. Together, the projects will generate more than 1,110 on-site construction jobs and an estimated 10,400 direct and indirect jobs in the manufacturing supply, design and construction of zero-emission solar power facilities to provide renewable energy for up to 150,000 homes.
Both projects use the advanced molten salt, power tower technology developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a division of United Technologies Corporation. The innovative technology features integrated energy storage to generate electricity on demand, even after the sun goes down, providing utilities with firm, reliable and renewable energy. This technology can replace conventional power generation that produces harmful emissions from burning coal, natural gas and oil.
SolarReserve applied for participation in the Loan Guarantee Program under the DOE’s July 2009 solicitation for innovative renewable technologies pursuant to under the Section 1705 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Both projects successfully advanced through Parts I and II of the DOE’s extensive application review process. DOE and SolarReserve are advancing the arrangements for the financing terms and conditions available under the DOE’s Section 1705 Program. This program is critical to successfully finance these types of projects.
The 110 megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project located in Nye County, Nevada, near the town of Tonopah, was designated by the Department of Interior as a fast-track applicant for right of way use of federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The project, which, in 2009 secured a 25-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy and approved by the Public Utility Commission of Nevada in July, received its Record of Decision from the Department of Interior on December 20th of last year.
The 150 megawatt Rice Solar Energy Project in eastern Riverside County, California, sited on previously disturbed private land, received its permitting approvals from the California Energy Commission on December 15th of last year. The project has secured a 25-year power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) that was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in September of this year.
SolarReserve, LLC – headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif. is a solar energy project development company developing large-scale solar energy projects worldwide. It holds the exclusive worldwide license to the molten salt, solar power tower technology developed by United Technologies Corporation. Since its formation in late 2007, SolarReserve’s team of power project professionals have assembled a concentrated solar power development portfolio of more than 25 projects featuring its licensed solar power technology with potential output of more than 3,000 megawatts in the United States and Europe; with early stage activities in other international markets. SolarReserve is also developing 1,100 MW of photovoltaic projects across the United States, and is actively acquiring new sites in the US and internationally to add to the pipeline. SolarReserve’s experienced management team has previously developed and financed more than $15 billion in renewable and conventional energy projects in more than a dozen countries around the world.
SolarReserve’s molten salt, concentrating solar power tower technology was successfully demonstrated in California under a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored pilot project in the late 1990s. The 10-megawatt pilot concentrating solar power tower facility utilized a molten salt receiver designed, engineered and assembled by Rocketdyne, now a part of United Technologies Corporation.