Powered down

About this time last year, we reported on a proposed 1,900-acre solar farm that would be located on private property southwest of Durango, near Hesperus. While one would think the huge jolt of renewable energy the project would generate would be celebrated, it wasn’t so simple.

Sure, the solar farm, led by California-based solar energy developer Primergy, would feature a 155-megawatt facility capable of powering an estimated 56,000 homes a year. But neighbors in the predominantly rural area pushed back, arguing the massive development would destroy the landscape, negatively impact residents and disturb wildlife.

So a year later, where does the whole thing stand? Well, this past Thursday, neighbors opposed to the project, which formed a group called “STOP Hesperus Solar,” sent out an email that Primergy’s application had been withdrawn from La Plata County.

Lynn Hyde, La Plata County’s Community Development Director, said the application is considered withdrawn because a “finalized cost reimbursement agreement was not signed by both parties.”

Translation: Primergy did not provide a complete agreement form to reimburse the county’s costs associated with evaluating such a large and complex project.

In an interview with The Durango Herald, Primergy said it remains committed to the project but did not provide a date for when it intends to resubmit an application.

The whole situation highlights the strange push and pull of the need for renewable energy but not knowing exactly where to put all this infrastructure.

Hesperus residents say this project would increase fire danger and contaminate water, as well as impact property values. And, they say, it would disturb one of the largest migration routes used by big game traveling to and from the La Plata Mountains.

On that note, it was recently announced Colorado Parks and Wildlife is partnering with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe to place 60 radio collars on deer in the area to collect survival, location and migration data. This, on top of winter helicopter surveys and radio-collared elk, will help understand the impacts of the project.

“One of the uses for this combination of data-collecting efforts is to document elk and deer spatial distribution and migration patterns in and around the Hesperus Solar proposed project,” Jamin Grigg, CPW Southwest region wildlife biologist, said in a statement.

Top Stories

We met at The Ranch
02/22/2024
We met at The Ranch
By Missy Votel

Finding true love at El Rancho does happen ... a lot

Read More
A trail to somewhere
02/15/2024
A trail to somewhere
By Jonathan Romeo

Grassroots effort launched to build Durango-to-Hermosa trail
 

Read More
Living to tell
02/15/2024
Living to tell
By Stina Sieg / Colorado Public Radio

As avi deaths mount, revisiting one survivor's harrowing tale

Read More
Keeping watch on Kane Creek
02/08/2024
Keeping watch on Kane Creek
By Jennaye Derge

Beloved Moab area slated for luxury resort and condos
 

Read More
Read All in Top Stories

The Pole

Numb nuts?
02/22/2024

Tired of saddle sores and chamois chafe? Well, settle in, because we’re about to have a really uncomfortable conversation. About bike seats.

The long haul
02/15/2024

Clocking in at 1.45 miles and 30 minutes of ducking and weaving through wall-to-wall people, shlepping from one end of DIA’s B Concourse to the other is no cake walk. But now, DIA travelers have someone to commiserate with. Apparently, Salt Lake City International Airport also has a B concourse with a death march from hell.

Sun's out, buns out
02/08/2024

For an upcoming girls ski weekend at Sunlight Mountain Resort, you can leave your boots on – but not much else. On March 29-30, the small, privately owned resort near Glenwood Springs will host the all-female “Boot Tan Fest,” complete with an end-of-day naked ski lap.

Kum & Gone
02/01/2024

It’s a sad day for frequent road-trippers to Denver. The endearingly risqué gas station/convenience store chain Kum & Go is changing its name.

If you need to take a moment to cry into your Kum & Go koozie or sweatshirt, it’s OK.

Read All Stories in the Pole