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Solar Energy and the Future of the San Luis Valley


Saturday - January 17, 2009 1 – 3:30 pm Hospice Del Valle Community Room 514 Main Street, Alamosa, CO

1-1:30 1:30-2:00 Settling in, greeting & introductions (Ceal Smith, WPC) Bill Brown Presentation:

“Solar Opportunities & Challenges in the SLV”
2:00-2:30 2:30-3:15 3:15-3:30 Panel Introductions (Mike Gibson, moderator) Question & Answer, group discussion Closing & questionnaires (Chris Canaly, SLVEC)

Co-spponsored by the San Luis Valley Water Protection Coalition/ and San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council/

SLV Solar Symposium References & Resources
Connecting Colorado's Renewable Resources to the Markets, download at: Report from Colorado Senate Bill 07-091 Renewable Resource Generation Development Areas Task Force. Rural Power: Community-Scaled Renewable Energy and Rural Economic Development and Energy Self-Reliant States: Homegrown Renewable Power: How much energy could be generated by states. Both reports (and more) can be downloaded from the New Rules Project website at: Solar Electricity in the Utility Market, Solar Electric Power Association Utility Procurement Study, download at: Fuel from the Sky: Solar Power's Potential for Western Energy Supply, by A. Leitner is dated but provides a very good overview of various solar energy technologies and water use, download at: WEBSITES: Governors Energy Office: National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), “Renewable Energy Basic” see:, for maps and resources, see: Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) has many excellent resources including a basic overview on solar energy at: U.S. Department of Energy, solar page: Bill Brown’s Climate Solutions Blog at:


Solar Energy and the Future of the San Luis Valley
GUEST PANELISTS PRESENTOR Bill Brown: Sage West Consultants & The Climate Project, Energy Science, Law, Architecture, Taos & Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico

MODERATOR: Mike Gibson: Chair, Rio Grande Interbasin Round Table

PANELISTS: Lee Boughey: James “Jim” Clare: Tristate, Senior Mgr, Communications & Public Affairs San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative, Public Information & Regulator Compliance Officer Executive Director, San Luis Valley Development Resources Group San Luis Valley Solar Association, Hot Stuff Controls To be confirmed Southern Regional Representative of the Governors Energy Office

Mike Wisdom: Andy Zaugg: Sun Edison: Hew Hallock

EVENT ORGANIZERS: Ceal Smith: Biologist, Tierra Ecological Consultants/Acting Director, SLV Water Protection Coalition

Chris Canaly: Executive Director, SLV Ecosystem Council  

SLV Solar Symposium, Panelist Bios:
William “Bill” M. Brown. Cofounder, Sage West Consultants. Bill was an Earth Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey for 36 years. He led international projects on environmental impacts of human activities in the USA. He worked as a research team manager, researcher on global minerals and energy, Budget Analyst in the U.S. Department of the Interior, and researcher on the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Since his retirement from the federal government in 2003, Bill has worked as a consultant on energy science, policy, economics and climate change solutions. He was the Science Advisor for the Coalition for the Valle Vidal and in 2006 was one of 1,000 Americans appointed to Al Gore’s The Climate Project. In 2008, Bill co-founded Sage West Consultants to bring science, law and architecture to bear on implementing energy policy decisions. Bill and his partners currently work with U.S. Senate and House members from New Mexico, the State of New Mexico, the Town and County of Taos, and many private, government, and non-profit organizations throughout the West. Mike Gibson. Chair, Rio Grande Interbasin Roundtable. Mike received his undergraduate degree from the University of London in Mining Engineering. He spent the first 3 years of his career in Sierra Leone at an iron ore mine, before coming to the US for graduate studies. He later joined Kerr McGee’s offshore drilling and mining subsidiaries. His responsibilities included technical, permitting, health and safety and environmental support to the mining operations. He later joined Rio Tinto, a London based company with over 90 mining operations around the world. He was operations managers for environmental compliance, new mine evaluation and permitting for coal, copper, gold, and uranium mining operations in the Western States. After retirement, Mike joined The Nature Conservancy at Medano-Zapata Ranch. After 3 years with TNC, Mike joined the SLV Water Conservancy District that sponsored the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project as Coordinator. He currently chairs the Rio Grande Interbasin Roundtable. Lee Boughey, Sr. Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. Lee joined Tri-State as public relations manager in 2006 following six years as stakeholder partnerships and external relations manager for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo. Lee previously worked on legislative and regulatory affairs in the technology industry, served in the economic development office of Colorado Governor Roy Romer, and began his career in economic development for several Colorado municipalities. At Tri-State, Lee leads the corporate communications and public affairs, and directs external relations for transmission development projects. Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado and a graduate degree in environmental policy from the University of Denver. Tri-State is a consumerowned, not-for-profit wholesale electricity supplier owned by 44 member cooperatives and public power districts in Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska and Wyoming. It serves 1.4 million westerners across a service territory of 250,000 square miles. Hew Hallock, Southern Regional Representative of the Governors Energy Office (GEO). Hew is the GEO Regional Representative covering 14 counties across Colorado's southern border. As a regional representative for the GEO, Hew works with local governments, agencies and organizations promoting energy efficiency and renewal energy development. Before joining the GEO in October 2008, he was manager editor of the Valley Courier for nearly six years. A native Coloradoan, Hew comes from a rural and agricultural background and draws from his experience in business and working with government. Mike Wisdom. Executive Director, San Luis Valley Development Resources Group, Inc. (DRG). DRG is a nonprofit community and economic development corporation. The consolidated group consists of the Council of Governments, the Economic Development Council, and the Regional Development and Planning Commission. Examples of DRG’s programs include; four types of Revolving Loan Funds, thirty-seven nonprofit Enterprise Zone projects, and management of the Economic Development Administration Planning Grant. The group concentrates on incubation of regional infrastructure programs like the 911 Authority Board, Trails and Recreation Master Plan, and the GIS/GPS Authority. Mike is active in community/economic development groups on a national, statewide and local level. He has served as ViceChairman of the National Rural Development Partnership, as past Chairman of the Colorado Rural Development Council, on Governor Owens’ Wind Working Committee, as honorary trustee for the Creede Repertory Theatre, the Board of the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Foundation, Advisory Board of the SLV Nature Conservancy, ViceChairman of the Rio Grande Hospital Board/Valley Citizens Foundation for Health Care Incorporated, Alamosa Community Development Corporation. Mike is dedicated to creating sustainable and compatible jobs based on valueadded principals in the SLV. Andy Zaugg, San Luis Valley Solar Association, Hot Stuff Controls. Andy grew up in suburban Washington, D.C. and moved to the San Luis Valley in 1976. He lives in northern Conejos County with my wife, Alice Price. Andy has done many things, he worked in ornamental and structural ironwork, produced military radar and co-authored a book on air-medium solar thermal systems. He taught mathematics at U. C. Santa Cruz, and Tai Chi Chuan in the San Luis Valley. He ran his own manufacturing business, consulted as an engineer and worked as department manager, safety officer, and security officer at the Conejos County Hospital. In addition he served on several boards of directors including (Conejos County Hospital, Mennonite Health Resources), community (Habitat for Humanity, AYSO soccer league, SLV Solar Energy Assn.).



SLV Solar Symposium
Selected Terms and Acronyms CSP = Concentrated Solar Thermal Power PV = Photovoltaic or Solar Photovoltaic CPV = Concentrated Solar Photovoltaic Power RES = Renewable Energy Standard REP = Renewable Energy Portfolio DG = Distributed Power Generation GHGs = Greenhouse Gases DSM = Demand-Side Energy Management CCS = Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage
SMART GRID. A smart grid delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital technology to save energy and cost. Such a modernized electricity network is being promoted by many governments as a way of addressing energy independence or global warming issues. For example, if smart grid technologies made the United States grid 5% more efficient, it would equate to eliminating the fuel and greenhouse gas emissions from 53 million cars. ‐  cite_note‐DOE_intro‐0 President-elect Barack Obama asked the United States Congress "to act without delay" to pass legislation that included doubling alternative energy production in the next three years and building a new electricity "smart grid". Overview The term smart grid represents a vision for a digital upgrade of distribution and long distance transmission grids to both optimize current operations, as well as open up new markets for alternative energy production. In the US, half of generation capacity is unused, half its long distance transmission network capacity is unused, and two thirds of its local distribution is unused. As with other industries, use of robust two-way communications, advanced sensors, and distributed computing technology will improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of power delivery and use. One United States Department of Energy study calculated that internal modernization of US grids with smart grid capabilities would save between 46 and 117 billion dollars over the next 20 years. As well as these industrial modernization benefits, smart grid features could expand energy efficiency beyond the grid into the home by coordinating low priority home devices such as water heaters so that their use of power takes advantage of the most desirable energy sources. Smart grids can also coordinate the production of power from large numbers of small power producers such as owners of rooftop solar panels — an arrangement that would otherwise prove problematic for power systems operators at local utilities. Although there are specific and proven smart grid technologies in use, smart grid is an aggregate term for a set of related technologies rather than a name for a specific technology with a generally agreed on specification. Some of the benefits of such a modernized electricity network include the ability to reduce power consumption at the consumer side during peak hours, called Demand side management; enabling grid connection of distributed generation power (with photovoltaic arrays, small wind turbines, micro hydro, or even combined heat power generators in buildings); incorporating grid energy storage for distributed generation load balancing; and eliminating or containing failures such as widespread power grid cascading failures. The increased efficiency and reliability of the Smart grid is expected to save consumers money and help reduce CO2 emissions. Smart grid is referred to by other names including Smart Electric Grid, Smart Power Grid, Intelligent Grid/Intelligrid, and FutureGrid. FEED-IN TARIFF Feed-in Tariff (FiT, FiL, Feed-in Law, solar premium or Renewable Tariff [2]) is an incentive structure to encourage the adoption of renewable energy through government legislation. The regional or national electricity utilities are obligated to buy renewable electricity (electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar photovoltaics, wind power, biomass, and geothermal power) at above market rates set by the government.

AFV = Alternative Fuel Vehicle KW = Kilowatt MW = Megawatt GW = Gigawatt Quad = Quadrillion BTUs or Quadrillion British Thermal Units Smart Grid = (See below) FIT = Feed-in Tariff (See below) Net Metering = (See below


The higher price helps overcome the cost disadvantages of renewable energy sources. The rate may differ among various forms of power generation. History This type of program was first implemented in the USA in 1978. President Jimmy Carter told Americans that the energy crisis was "a clear and present danger to our nation" and drew out a plan to address it. As reaction to a perceived energy crisis and growing concerns over air pollution, President Jimmy Carter signed the National Energy Act (NEA) and the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA). The purpose of these watershed laws was to encourage energy conservation and the development of national energy resources, including renewables such as wind and solar. Standard Offer Contracts for renewable power development were first introduced in California in the early 1980s in response to the state's investor-owned utilities behavior toward small power producers. California's Public Utility Commission ordered the utilities to offer standardized contracts and to offer one such contract, Standard Offer No.4 (SO4) with fixed prices. By the mid- 1980s, private power producers had installed 1,200 MW of wind capacity in California. Much of this capacity is still in service. For two decades these wind turbines have delivered about 1% of the stateʼs electricity. But it is the German model, that begun in 1990 ("Stromeinspeisungsgesetz")and refined in the year 2000 ("ErneuerbareEnergien-Gesetz") when it became a Federally managed program that has proven to be the worldʼs most effective practice for boosting adoption of renewable energy technologies. Feed-In Tariffs (REFIT) have been associated with a large growth in solar power in Spain, Germany and wind power in Denmark. These countries now boast the supply of 9%, 5% and 20% of their electricity respectively. These systems involve fixed payments that are guaranteed in the long term; 20 years in the cases of Spain and Germany. Principle In the effort to combat climate change, the increased deployment of renewable energy sources is regarded by many as critical. One major obstacle to this adoption is the retail price of electricity generated from renewable sources, which is typically more expensive than the retail price of electricity generated from fossil fuels. A FiT is a revenue-neutral way of making the installation of renewable energy more appealing. The electricity that is generated is bought by the utility at above market prices. For example, if the retail price of electricity is 10¢/kWh then the rate for green power might be 40¢/kWh. The difference is spread over all of the customers of the utility. For example, if $100,000 worth of green power is bought in a year by a utility that has 1,000,000 customers, then each of those customers will have 10¢ added on to their bill annually. Thus, a small annual increase in the price of electricity per customer can result in a large incentive for people to install renewable energy systems. This is the essence of a FiT: it is a mechanism to instigate a change in the way power is produced, gradually shifting from present polluting means to non-greenhouse methods. NET METERING Net metering is an electricity policy for consumers who own, generally small, renewable energy facilities, such as wind, solar power or home fuel cells. "Net", in this context, is used in the sense of meaning "what remains after deductions" -- in this case, the deduction of any energy outflows from metered energy inflows. Under net metering, a system owner receives retail credit for at least a portion of the electricity they generate. The ideal has your existing electricity meter spinning backwards, effectively banking excess electricity production for future credit. In reality, the rules vary significantly by country and possibly state/province; if net metering is available, if and how long you can keep your banked credits, how much the credits are worth (retail/wholesale), etc. Net Metering is generally a consumer-based renewable energy incentive. While it is important to have Net Metering available for any consumer that interconnects their renewable generator to the grid, this form of renewable incentive places the burdens of pioneering renewable energy primarily upon fragmented consumers. Often over-burdened energy agencies are not providing incentives on a consistent basis and it is difficult for individuals to negotiate with large institutions to recover their Net Metering credits and/or rebates for using renewable energy. In the U.S.A., as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, under Sec. 1251, all public electric utilities are now required to make available upon request net metering to their customers. ʻʻ(11) NET METERING.—Each electric utility shall make available upon request net metering service to any electric consumer that the electric utility serves. For purposes of this paragraph, the term ʻnet metering serviceʼ means service to an electric consumer under which electric energy generated by that electric consumer from an eligible on-site generating facility and delivered to the local distribution facilities may be used to offset electric energy provided by the electric utility to the electric consumer during the applicable billing period.” New Jersey/and Colorado are widely considered to have the best net-metering policies in the United States as both have no limit on enrollment (less than 2MW each), roll over month to month and pay annually for excess generation at avoided-cost rate (New Jersey) or incremental cost (Colorado)

Xcel seeks bids on world's biggest solar project
By Gargi Chakrabarty, Rocky Mountain News January 10, 2009 Xcel Energy plans to transform Colorado into one of the biggest solar-power states in the world. On Friday, the utility sought competitive bids for up to 600 megawatts of solar power projects with capacity for storage - power that would serve roughly 150,000 customers in the Front Range. The price tag: about $3 billion. If Xcel selects a single plant generating the entire power, it would be the world's biggest solar project. "We can do it," said John Czingula, one of the biggest shareholders and founder of Solargenix Energy. Headquartered in Sanford, N.C., Solargenix has acquired land in southeast Colorado near the San Luis Valley and hopes to win the bid. Spanish company Abengoa Solar, with U.S. headquarters in Lakewood, BrightSourceEnergy and Ausra are among the solar companies that have established a presence in Colorado to tap into its growing market. Xcel also sought bids for 700 megawatts of wind power projects and 900 megawatts of other types of projects such as coal- or natural gas-fired plants. The deadline for submitting the bids is April 10. Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz said the utility will employ an independent evaluator, and hopes to complete the evaluation process by fall. New projects could be online as early as 2010. "If we can achieve the distinction of having the world's biggest solar plant at some point in the future, Xcel would certainly welcome it," Stutz said. Mark Mehos, a scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden who specializes in solar power with storage, doubts anyone can build a single, 600-megawatt solar project today. The single biggest project in the world currently is Abengoa Solar's 280-megawatt plant under construction in Arizona. Even if Xcel decides to select two adjacent plants, each generating 300 megawatts, that still would make them the biggest solar park in the world, Mehos said. One megawatt of solar serves about 250 customers. "I doubt you will see a single 600- megawatt solar plant," Mehos said. "If the size of the plant gets too large, it will create issues." Solar power with storage, also called concentrating solar power, is not a new technology, according to Chuck Kutscher, manager of thermal systems group at NREL. For example, California's Mojave Desert has nine such plants that have been producing 354 megawatts for nearly two decades. Today, electricity generated by CSP plants could cost, on average, 14 cents per kilowatt/hour, compared with 10 to 12 cents per Kwh by natural gas plants. Electricity from solar photovoltaic panels would be slightly higher at 18 to 20 cents per Kwh. Seeking bids. Xcel sought competitive bids on Friday that could add up to 2,200 megawatts of projects that would go online by 2015.The bids, which must be submitted by April 10, include: * Up to 600 megawatts of solar power projects with storage capability * 700 megawatts of wind power * 900 megawatts of other resource- based power, like coal or natural gas   7 


Solar Energy and the Future of the San Luis Valley


(Contact information is optional/please remain anonymous if you prefer) Name: ___________________________ Affiliation: ________________________________ Email: ___________________________ Phone: __________________________________ Mailing address: ________________________________________________________________

1. What is your interest in solar development in the San Luis Valley?

2. What are your concerns about solar development in the San Luis Valley?

3. Have you ever been contacted by solar, utility, real estate or other companies or organizations regarding power development? If yes, would you be willing to share who contacted you and what was their interest?

4. Do you understand the differences between solar photovoltaic (PV) and Concentrated Solar thermal Power (CSP) technology? If not, what more would you like to know?

5. Do you understand the differences between “distributed” and “centralized” power generation? If not, what more would you like to know?

(over please)


  6. What type (PV/CSP), scale (distributed/centralized) and/or mix of solar development would you like to see implemented in the San Luis Valley? In 5 years? In 15 years? In 30 years?

7. Do you understand the relative costs, benefits and impacts of different types of solar power compared with other forms of energy development?

8. What additional information would be helpful to you?

9. Are you interested in working with the WPC and SLVEC? If yes, how?


❑ No

❑ Advisor (area of expertise_____________________________________________________) ❑ Community outreach/education ___Business & economic development ❑ Renewable Energy Working Group ___Water user ❑ Sustainability Working Group
What are your “stakeholder” affiliations? ___Landowner ___Rancher or farmer ___Government ___Conservation & the environment ___Communities Other?______________________________

Comments on the solar symposium and suggestions for future events: _____________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________