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Wind potential on City property

by Brian Orr

WALSENBURG– Ralph Hubregsen of Viento Claro Energy (Clear Wind) made a presentation to the Walsenburg City Council on Tuesday evening, proposing to potentially lease city-owned property east of I-25 and north of Highway 10 for building a wind farm.

    “This is an interesting project, in that it is both private and public,” Hubregsen said.  His company is looking at building a wind farm that could generate up to 125 megawatts.  This project is in the very early phase, where they are talking to interested landowners.  Property owners adjacent to the City property have already said they would be interested in participating.

    What Hubregsen was asking for from the City was simply a non-binding letter of interest, so he could show to potential investors the project was moving forward.  What he would like to do next is put up some anemometers at the 50 to 80 meter height to begin collecting at least a year’s worth of hard data from the actual site.

    After that, there are many other steps to be taken before the first watt of power could be generated, but this is the beginning.  Hubregsen said the City stood to earn anywhere from $78,000 to $120,000 a year for the lifespan of the project (20-25 years) depending on lease negotiations.  City Council, which is looking at leasing the exact same spot for gravel mining, said they wanted to study the matter more before signing the letter.

    In other business, the Council postponed a decision to give the next City Council a pay raise.  Councilman Lou Taylor made a motion to vote no, but other councilmembers wanted to debate it more, noting it is very difficult to get anyone to run for the seats.

    Three different lease agreements were signed for releasing City water.  Pinon Hills Subdivision is leasing two acre feet of water at $1,545 an acre foot, Huajatolla Valley Estates is renewing their lease for six acre feet, and Tres Valles homeowners leased ten acre feet of water, all for the same amount.