Posted by Big Gav
A site once used for testing weapons of mass destruction is about to play an important role in a much more peaceful and cleaner project - testing solar power.
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu last week announced the new Solar Demonstration Zone will be located in the southwest corner of the Nevada Test Site, a former nuclear site. Between 1951 and 1992, there were a total of 928 known nuclear tests at Nevada Test Site, including the November 1951 21 kiloton detonation; the first U.S. nuclear field exercise conducted on land.
The Solar Demonstration Zone will act as proving grounds for new solar technologies and reduce the environmental impacts of utility-scale solar power facilities.
The federal government is dedicating more than 25 square miles of the site to solar energy research - an area larger than Manhattan. DOE will use the site to demonstrate innovative Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies. CSP uses reflective mirrors called heliostats to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto liquid-filled tubes used to generate steam and spin turbines.
DOE selected the site after reviewing 26 possible locations, evaluating factors including solar conditions, suitable terrain, and existing infrastructure to support solar projects. Before selecting the site for the Solar Demonstration Zone, the federal government consulted with relevant stakeholders, including state, tribal, and local governments, as well as local utilities.