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Editorial: Time is now for Solar Reserve’s project

Posted: Friday, Apr 12th, 2013

The San Luis Valley is united behind SolarReserve’s proposed project in Saguache County.  We encourage the Public Utilities Commission to allow it to move forward.

This innovative solar energy project would stimulate our economy by creating hundreds of construction jobs and spending literally hundreds of millions of dollars in Colorado.  It would directly employ 50 long-term workers and create significant property tax revenue.  It would replace farmland in a way that reduces pressure on our struggling aquifer and supports our agricultural economy.  Because it has energy storage, the project would improve our local energy security.

SolarReserve has worked closely with our community for over two years.  They have committed to preferring local vendors and contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to local job training.  Saguache County examined every nuance in the permitting process and approved this project.

More impressively, SolarReserve has received endorsements from practically every representative body in the San Luis Valley.  From counties, cities, and towns, to economic development groups, to water districts and agricultural boards, to schools and training agencies and local businesses; the Valley supports this project.

A law called “Section 123” is supposed to pave the way for innovative projects that create jobs in rural communities.  This program has gone under-utilized. In these troubled economic times, we need investments in new energy technologies in the sunny San Luis Valley now more than ever.

In Denver, the Public Utilities Commissioners, who are appointed by the Governor, have a valuable opportunity.  They can support innovative solar energy with storage, creation of rural jobs, economic development, water conservation, and energy security for the San Luis Valley.  They can take this chance to improve our economy while leading the way in renewable power.

We support SolarReserve’s Saguache Solar Energy Project and we urge Colorado’s leadership to do the same.

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