Tessera Solar’s ambitious bid to build a 200-megawatt concentrating solar power plant in Colorado’s Sun Luis Valley has come to an end.
The project had previously scaled back from 200 megawatts to 145 megawatts in an effort by Tessera Solar to address local’s concerns that the SunCatchers would be too loud and could be heard throughout the valley. SunCatchers are large, satellite-dish like structures with a reflective surface that focuses sunlight on a Stirling engine, which in turn powers an electricity-producing generator.
“There were a lot of different studies over two years. The county was satisfied with some of the studies but wanted others,” said Brent Bailey, vice president and general counsel for Tessera Solar.
With the ongoing hearings and studies, restraints on the project and no power-purchase agreement, it didn’t make economic sense. “It wasn’t going to be an economically viable project at the end of the day,” he said.
This was the last active development for Tessera Solar, according to Bailey. The company has one completed project in Peoria, Ariz., that went commercial in March 2010, he said, which the company will continue to manage and operate.
The San Luis Renewable Communities Alliance, an advocacy organization that opposed the project, was pleased with Tessera’s decision.
"Now we can focus on what we do want, rather than fighting ill-borne projects generated by those who care nothing for rural places" said rancher Julie Sullivan, in an email to alliance members.
What’s not yet determined is what will happen with the land slated for the project. “We have had some interest by other developers,” Bailey said. “But we don’t have any plans yet.”
In the last year, Tessera and NTR PLC., of Ireland, which has a majority share in the company, have taken advantage of at least two other interested developers.
The company sold its interest in the 850-megawatt Calico solar plant to K Road Power Holdings, LLC after Southern California Edison terminated its power-purchase agreement with Tessera. And it sold the 709-megawatt Imperial Valley project to AES Solar.