Vail Daily letter: Wrong location
October 9, 2013
Coming east from Eagle on I-70, the Red Canyon Valley is one of the most attractive natural landscapes in Eagle County. I have serious concerns with the proposal by Arion Energy to build a 5-acre solar collector farm right smack in the middle of this valley, 2 1/2 miles east of Eagle.
Visual impact: In the past, Eagle County has taken great pride in protecting natural landscapes, especially in highly visible areas. This is not an appropriate location for a solar farm covering 5 acres with rows of mechanical framework and reflective material. The developer's comment that this visual blight would show "Eagle County's commitment to solar energy" lacks credibility.
Impact on Holy Cross Energy rate payers: Holy Cross Energy uses a "net metering" approach for solar energy generated by consumers, crediting them at the same rate they would pay for electric power. Most of the power we use is purchased from the Comanche power station outside Pueblo for about 5 1/2 cents per kilowatt hour and sold to us at 9 1/2 cents, the difference being the cost of transmission, distribution, maintenance and administration. On the other hand, solar generation is credited at a full 9 1/2 cents, thus escaping the cost of HCE's overhead. This is essentially a subsidy for solar which then must be picked up by the rest of the rate-payers. I believe a "for profit" project, such as this solar farm should pay for itself without impacting the rate payer.
This application is being "rushed through" in order to meet a December deadline for solar subsidies. Let your voices be heard. Write your county commissioners at P.O. Box 850, Eagle, CO 91831.