U.S. Gave A $737 Million Loan To A Failing Solar Energy Plant

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By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy

The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy plant was created in 2011, when the U.S. government lent the company $737 million to generate power for 43,000 homes in Nevada. However, years of delays, mismanagement, and bankruptcy have plagued the project, leaving taxpayers guaranteeing a loan that should never have been made.

According to an investigation by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the project’s 10,000 mirrors were expected to heat molten salt in a 640-foot high tower. The salt would heat water, creating steam and the steam would create power. Everyone from the late Sen. Harry Reid to the U.S. Department of Energy touted its ambition, scale, and potential.

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Unfortunately, it got off to a rough start. It began producing power in 2015, months behind schedule, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Then in 2016, a leak took the plant offline. By late 2017, it was operational again, but experienced “frequent and prolonged outages,” the newspaper quoted NV Energy as saying.

In 2019, partial owner SolarReserve, said it “suffered a catastrophic failure” that required the removal of the solar tower, effectively decommissioning the project.

The plant’s owners entered into a bankruptcy agreement with the U.S. government in 2020, recovering $200 million of taxpayer funds.

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Now, the project is back from the dead, with its owners entering into a contract to sell electricity to NV Energy during the summer months.

Syndicated with permission from Real Clear Wire.

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