US solar power project boost for NTR

A SUBSIDIARY of Irish renewable energy group NTR has achieved a major breakthrough in becoming the first company to gain national approval in the US for a full commercial-scale solar power project.

NTR (formerly National Toll Roads) last week announced the further dilution of its previously core infrastructure interests via the sale of a number of road assets here, including Dublin’s East-Link toll bridge – for a combined €50m – as it solidifies its position as a leading player in the international renewable energy and waste management industries.

That transition was further bolstered with the announcement that the Houston-based solar energy specialist, Tessera Solar (in which NTR is the majority shareholder) has been granted nationwide approval from the US government for its Imperial Valley Solar Project.

The decision follows local approval from the California Energy Commission last week.

The Imperial Valley project is based near El Centro in California, covers nearly 6,600 acres and will initially generate 709 megawatts of power, with an additional 409MW coming on stream upon the completion of its second phase.

“Tessera Solar has achieved a significant milestone, securing this joint approval in one of the more complex permitting environments in North America,” said NTR chief executive, Jim Barry, yesterday.

“A fully permitted project with a utility power purchase agreement of this size creates significant value for the company,” he added.

Tessera Solar’s projects are developed using the patented SunCatcher solar power system,which is manufactured by another NTR interest, Stirling Energy Systems (SES).

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