« Special Session of New Mexico Legislature Postponed Until Monday | Main | Dem Diane Denish Leads All GOP Gubernatorial Candidates in PPP Poll Released Today »

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gov. Bill Richardson: Chevron to Build Major Solar Energy Plant in Questa

Governor Bill Richardson today announced Chevron Corporation will build a one megawatt concentrating photovoltaic solar facility on the tailing site of Chevron Mining, Inc.’s molybdenum mine in Questa, New Mexico. The demonstration project will be the largest concentrating solar photovoltaic installation in the U.S.

“Locating renewable energy projects on impacted lands is a great way to redevelop the land,” Governor Richardson said in a statement released by his office. “I’m pleased that Questa – and Chevron Mining and Chevron Technology – will contribute to New Mexico’s solar energy production and help us build a strong clean energy economy. This makes economic and environmental sense.”

The facility will include approximately 175 solar panels on about 20 acres of land, and the electricity produced will be sold to Kit Carson Electric Cooperative through a power purchase agreement. Previously Chevron submitted a plan to conduct the pilot demonstration project to the Environmental Protection Agency, the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and the New Mexico Environment Department. All three agencies support the project.

“We are proud to be part of a project that brings mining reclamation and renewable energy together in innovative ways,” said Jon Goldstein, Cabinet Secretary for New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, in a written statement. “Our state is blessed with abundant natural resources of every variety; it is easy to see why Chevron chose New Mexico for this project.”

“Chevron’s demonstration solar project converts a contaminated property into a productive site that will benefit from the green energy it produces,” stated Ron Curry, Cabinet Secretary for New Mexico Environment Department. “We look forward to working with Chevron on this project to ensure there are no adverse impacts to human health, wildlife and the environment.”

Chevron will begin construction on this project in spring of 2010 and estimates conclusion by year end. The project will be implemented in conjunction with an evaluation of various soil depths for closure of the tailing facility at the end of mining operations.

“Chevron appreciates the partnership and support of all the various levels of governments, agencies and communities that makes this project a reality,” stated Fred Nelson, president of Chevron Mining Inc. “The project fits Governor Richardson’s vision to demonstrate how previously impacted land can be remediated and used for future alternative energy resources.”

"With this agreement, New Mexico has a unique opportunity to show the rest of the country ways which new cleaner energy can be affordable. This pilot will showcase renewable energy initiatives and benefit the community of Questa," said Al Armendariz, EPA Regional Administrator. "EPA supports this public /private enterprise to test the operation of emerging solar technologies on otherwise abandoned contaminated properties."

February 23, 2010 at 03:14 PM in Energy, Environment, Gov. Bill Richardson, Green Economy, Taos | Permalink

Comments

What I want to know is whether they received any corporate welfare in the form of tax cuts ("incentives") or taxpayer money, etc.

Posted by: Ellen Wedum | Feb 24, 2010 6:55:05 AM

I would like to see the employment stats. How many jobs will it create? What kind of wages will it pay? Also, will this control the high price of electricity for New Mexicans? Will we get our money's worth?

Posted by: qofdisks | Feb 24, 2010 10:38:16 AM

What money? This is Chevron's project. All NM agencies did was approve the concept as a demonstration project. Even if no jobs came with it, which isn't the case, using the old mining site for this is a great idea.

Posted by: Edward | Feb 24, 2010 11:50:30 AM

I hope that this provides good alternative employment to the molybdenum mine that's there. Those folks need a real upsurge in their economy.

Posted by: Mike Kitts | Feb 24, 2010 6:07:55 PM