August 13th, 2020
More than a quarter of the responses about the advantages (26%) addressed environmental advantages (n=60), mostly of renewable energy generally. Most frequently mentioned were that renewable energy, and CSP specifically, puts excellent San Luis Valley solar and natural resources, including lands, to best use (25 responses). Following are quotes from SLV interviewees.
We have 8,000 square miles, a lot of which is chico brush and land that is not being utilized, so there is plenty of room here.
I think the land owners who have owned….it’s just not good farmland. It’s chico brush and either maybe they don’t own the water or the soil is not right because there is a lot of alkaline in the val – ley….so, like where they put that SunEdison. .maybe that is the highest best use for that. So the people who sell that land, that may be their only opportunity to sell that land.
If you do some due diligence you can pick areas of the Valley that are fairly rocky, areas were farming is not done because soil isn’t good for farming potatoes. Other areas aren t producing much of anything—those areas would be the priority areas for solar panels. [The interviewee was talking about the 8.2 MW Sun Edison concentrating PVplant—this confusion between CSP and the PV plant existed among several SLV stakeholders.]
Another response was:
If you’ve got property that received the same amount of sun as the irrigated acreage that provides potatoes for food, you wouldn’t take one in favor of losing the other, but you would select the best one for the use. . . I suppose that says this makes more sense to sort of take the crops out of projection if you choose fallow land.
It’s the highest cash use.
A second type of environmental advantage cited (15 mentions) is that renewable energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions, addresses climate change, and helps to “save the planet.” It can probably be assumed that this type of advantage is thought to apply to CSP as well, although no responses cited this advantage relative to CSP in the Valley specifically. Quotes from within the SLV exemplifying this type of comment are as follows:
Whether you believe in climate change or not, the climate’s different than it used to be for whatever reason. The fact is that we need to address that. I think renewable energy is important [in addressing climate change].
The biggest advantage is that it is renewable, not a finite source of energy. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a benefit to renewable energy development—carbon reduction.
Quotes from outside the Valley on this point include:
I think in order of importance, probably climate change and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, secondarily the economic development piece, and perhaps third the fuel price stability and long-term cost reduction.
Quantified—1 billion tons of carbon reductions.
The third type of environmental advantage is the reference to renewable energy as “clean energy” and “good for the environment.” Thirteen discrete responses, mostly from SLV interviewees, referred to clean energy, but only one relative to CSP. Example quotes are as follows:
Renewable energy is good simply because it is renewable…it is popular to develop renewable energy because of environmental reasons, like clean air and water.
Other environmental advantages identified were that renewable energy uses less water than other forms of energy (two responses—one inside and the other outside the Valley), that it helps wildlife (two SLV responses), and that it won’t disrupt the vistas (two outside responses).