This letter rebuts one on Sunday – online in The Journal and in print in The Durango Herald on the proposed solar installation in Hesperus. The truth about Primergy’s Hesperus Solar, whose 500,000 panels would cover an area larger than Lake Nighthorse, is:
The four claims on stophesperussolar.com are accurate.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has designated the 1,920 acres as High Priority Habitat for wildlife, critical winter elk range and a major migration path for wildlife. Eight-foot high metal fences surrounding the 500,000 panels, the lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage System, and new substation would permanently eliminate the habitat. This would decimate calf/cow ratios, already precipitously low in this area.
At least half the 1,920 acres are currently agriculture, irrigated by pivot sprinklers. The seepage from irrigation water and HH Ditch water would be disrupted from entering into the aquifer that supplies the “Dryside” south to Marvel.
No energy generated will be utilized by local residents. After being transmitted to the Tri-State substation, the power will be transmitted out of the area. Tri-State transmits electricity to distribution coops for home delivery. The distribution coop for Durango, Bayfield and Pagosa Springs is LPEA. LPEA has stated it has no interest in Hesperus Solar.
The only local benefit would be taxes that are speculative and not guaranteed for the proposed project’s 45-year life.
This utility-scale project should be placed on closed-down fossil fuel-based sites, not on pristine critical wildlife habitat. Do not destroy the environment to save the environment.