Reasonings behind the Norwood solar fight – part two – WesternSlopeNow

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NORWOOD, Colo. (KREX) — In Western Slope Now’s last report, we told you about a solar company called One Energy pushing since last May to turn a state-owned plot of land into a 640-acre solar farm…but why are locals so opposed, and why is One Energy so set on this location?

First, some locals, including library director Carrie Andrew don’t foresee any direct benefit this solar field would bring to Norwood, but One Energy’s associate director for development Nathan Stottler disagrees says electricity would in fact flow to Norwood and surrounding communities.

Another concern deals with the town’s scarce water – Norwood’s water treatment plant sits on 80 acres in the southeast corner of the property.

Stottler says they will make sure to not interfere with the town’s water and will steer clear of filling in or building on top of the ditch running through the property.

But resident Demian Brooks says locals use this land for more than just water treatment and distribution – farmers use the land for grazing and agriculture.

Stottler tells Western Slope Now One Energy would take on the lease and pay farmers to continue to graze on the land, but there’s a catch…

Zach Snyder’s family has farmed and ranched in Norwood for nearly a century. His family is currently leasing out the state-owned parcel. If the solar company moves in, they’ll have no choice but to forfeit their lease, and furthermore, Stottler tells Western Slope Now only sheep will be allowed to graze underneath the panels – cows, which Zach’s family grazes on this piece of land, will not be allowed because they could damage the solar panels.

Another factor – what would this possible change mean for wildlife?

Stottler says the project is “wildlife friendly.”

Norwood Mayor Candy Meehan worries how trucks and workers who build the solar farm will impact the road to town, to which Stottler replied they will pay to fix the roads if necessary.

A growing contingent statewide also worry solar panel batteries could ignite already fire prone habitat. Mayor Meehan says solar farm lights would also threaten the areas dark sky designation.

So why is one energy so set on this sensitive wild land? Stottler tells Western Slope Now it’s currently the only state-owned plot of land next to transmission lines, though the transmission lines are found on private property adjacent to this piece of land.

And it just so happens, as Demian tells Western Slope Now, a buyer from California who recently purchased the private plot of land will not only give One Energy access to the lines but…they’ll build solar panels on it as well, if their plan goes accordingly.

There is more to this story, but we will have to wait – Western Slope Now will keep you updated.

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

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