Crescent Dunes Solar

Artistci rendering of Solar Reserve project
Department of Energy
The Crescent Dunes Solar project was approved in central Nevada in December 2010. The project is under construction and will produce 110 megawatts of solar energy.

This Solar Reserve project west of Tonopah, Nevada will produce enough energy to serve up to 75,000 homes. The Wilderness Society worked to improve the proposal through the permitting process, and supported BLM’s approval because it limited impacts and will produce renewable energy.

Limiting impacts to wild lands and wildlife habitat

Crescent Dunes Solar was proposed for 2,250 acres of BLM land in an area that has limited habitat diversity and will not impact wilderness quality lands. 

During the permitting process, the developer changed the project footprint to avoid sand dune habitat for sensitive beetle species that live there. Solar Reserve is also contributing money to a fund to study the poorly understood pale kangaroo mouse, a Nevada State Sensitive Species found in the region. The project is also using a “hybrid” cooling system that greatly reduces water use.

Producing clean solar energy

The Crescent Dunes project is now under construction and will produce 110 megawatts of solar energy, enough to power up to 75,000 homes. The project uses “power tower” technology to focus sunlight and heat at the top of a 650-foot tall tower and generate steam to create electricity. This type of system also allows the heat to be stored and electricity to continue to be produced after the sun goes down, making it more useful in meeting energy demands.

Engaging with the BLM and the project developer

The Wilderness Society was actively involved in the permitting process Crescent Dunes Solar. Working with our conservation partners, the BLM and the project developer, we closely reviewed the proposed project to ensure impacts would be minimized. Improvements to the proposal during the permitting process included a change in the project footprint to avoid sensitive sand dune habitat and the establishment of a fund to study the pale kangaroo mouse.

Helpful links