SolarReserve negotiates concentrated solar power project

SolarReserve Project Manager Adam Green walked the Saguache County Board of County Commissioners and staff through their proposed 30 plus project conditions, the Economic Development and Reclamation Bond counterproposal and the development agreement to make headway on the 1041 permit decision that must be made by April 2.

“We had a very constructive back and forth,” Green said after meeting with the commissioners. “I thought it was a productive meeting.”

The conditions were whittled down and turned over to SolarReserve for redrafting. The commissioners expect to see the counter conditions before the end of the week.

“Those are crucial,” said Saguache County Commissioner Mike Spearman after the meeting. “This was a big step forward.”

SolarReserve found some of the Economic and Development Bond counterproposal agreeable. Green reported to the board that the company was comfortable with the board’s decommission bond, but not in the areas of local job guarantees and tourism dollars.

“It is a bond helping the people of the San Luis Valley and I appreciate and respect that,” Green said during the meeting.

He added later, “The commissioners are showing how dedicated they are to see the safety and welfare of the community to be protected.”

In regards to local job guarantees, SolarReserve wanted the commissioners to reconsider requests for a 20 percent local construction workforce.

“We need to have some kind of guarantee,” Spearman said. “This is really important to us.”

Green also informed the commissioners that the company was not interested in providing some proposed annual tourism dollars, especially for the Visitor Information Center and the Center kiosk.

The commissioners are proposing $200,000 for a VIC verus the $100,000 SolarReserve offer, $50,000 annually for the Saguache County Tourism board to spend on VIC staffing and operation, operation of a shuttle system to and from the project site and general tourism promotion; and $10,000 for information kiosk upkeep in a future Center park.

“This is a lot more money than we were prepared to contribute,” Green said. “We put a good proposal on the table to set this up. I think our initial proposal is sufficient.”

SolarReserve will review the local job and tourism proposal and resubmit a draft to the commissioners before the end of the week.

The commissioners will discuss SolarReserve at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20 at their regular meeting and 9 a.m. on Monday, March 26 during a work session.

At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, the commissioners are scheduled to make a decision on the SolarReserve 1041 permit.

SolarReserve, a California-based company, is proposing 200-megawatt solar power-generating 100 percent clean energy facility north of Center that consists of two 100 MW 656-foot tall solar thermal power generating units based on concentrating solar-thermal power technology.