US Army Selects Acciona for 500-MW CSP Project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has selected Acciona Solar Power and the Clark Energy Group to develop a large-scale solar energy project at the Fort Irwin military complex, located in the Mojave Desert, California. The base is the U.S. Army’s largest training ground and also houses NASA’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications center.

A memorandum of understanding was signed by the Department of the Army, Fort Irwin and the joint venture created by Acciona Solar Power and Clark. Acciona and Clark will develop approximately 500 megawatt (MW) of CSP and photovoltaic technology and is the U.S. Department of Defense’s largest-ever solar project.

The announcement follows a competitive bid process opened in March by the U.S. Army’s Senior Energy Council, a body created in October 2008 to accelerate and oversee a sustainable energy strategy aimed at finding alternative energy sources, obtaining increased energy savings and securing energy supplies for U.S. Army installations, personnel, vehicles and other assets.

The facilities will be installed at five sites – a total of 21 square miles – following selection for suitability by Army technicians. A federal mandate requires the U.S. Army to reduce its energy consumption by 30 percent by 2015 (compared to 2003) and to cover 25 percent of its energy needs with renewable energies by 2025.

“Fort Irwin is proud to host this groundbreaking effort by the Department of the Army in partnership with Clark and Acciona Solar Power,” said Colonel Jim Chevalier, garrison commander, Fort Irwin. “The plant is the largest solar project in the state and it illustrates the commitment of Fort Irwin and the Army to incorporate environmental stewardship at all levels of operations.”

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