The oil and gas lease sale earlier this week conducted by the County Commissioners generated 13 bids (accepted) on parcels for a record total of $3.8 million. The previous high, Commissioner Sean Conway said, was this time a year ago when the leases brought $2.5 million. The county conducts lease auctions twice yearly.
An expected showdown between Divide Creek resident Lisa Bracken and Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. before County Commissioners never happened on Monday because the homeowner was a no-show.
The energy company appeared at the meeting with a rebuttal letter to be read into the record. Sher Long of EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) presented a written statement to the Garfield County commissioners rejecting Bracken’s assertion that drilling-related contamination of the local creek has never been corrected.
In fact, a “soil gas survey” of the property conducted last September, which Brcken demanded, concluded that the methane bubbling up in the creek is of “biogenic” origin, meaning it came from a shallower source than “thermogenic” gas.
The Rocky Mountain chapter of the Sierra Club, Be the Change and the South Park Coalition are asking Colorado State Land Board to withdraw results of an auction last month of oil and gas leases in Park County.
The groups contend the state didn’t receive fair market value for the leases, some of which went for the minimum bid of a $1.50 per acre for yearly rent and a filing fee. The groups also are concerned about potential environmental effects of drilling.
Board spokeswoman Melissa Yoder said Wednesday the groups’ appeal request is under legal review.
Xcel Energy and SunPower Corporation have announced the completion and commissioning of a 19-megawatt photovoltaic solar power plant in Alamosa County. The Greater Sandhill solar power plant is currently the largest operating PV solar power plant in Colorado.
Constructed in nine months, the facility is generating enough power to serve the annual electricity needs of nearly 5,000 homes.
“Xcel Energy is pleased to provide solar energy from Greater Sandhill to our customers and eagerly anticipates adding more solar power in the San Luis Valley in the near future,” said Tom Imbler, vice president, commercial operations for Xcel Energy.
FedEx has applied for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for its new Colorado Springs data center which the company intends to use as a model for its future facilities. Among the structure’s energy-saving highlights:
♦ Redundant mechanical and electrical systems that yield high levels of energy efficiency while reducing costs.
♦ Variable frequency drives used by the mechanical systems can fine-tune the amount of power consumed in the center according to the level of demand.
♦ Energy efficiency in the building will be calculated using the power usage effectiveness or P.U.E. ratio developed by Green Grid, a global consortium that develops energy-efficient data systems.
LONGMONT — It has taken a while for the United States to catch up to the rest of the Western world in renewable energy production, but that’s changing — and Colorado is leading the way, a group of panelists said last week at a meeting in Longmont.
“We recognize that Colorado is known for innovation and research, and we really need to lead with that innovation card,” Chris Shapard, executive director of the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, told a crowd of about 200 people at the Longmont Area Economic Council’s 12th annual Investor Series Breakfast.
Shapard said her group did an analysis last year of Colorado’s strengths and challenges in renewable energy, and four areas jumped to the forefront: wind, solar, smart-grid and “bio-derived” technology — so named because there are companies in Colorado working in the “bio” industry doing more than just developing fuels.
The federal Bureau of Land Management will boost permit approvals for oil and gas drilling on public lands 44 percent in 2011, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday. Salazar said the BLM is set to approve about 7,200 permits in 2011, compared with 5,000 in 2010.
“We are leaning into the production side onshore,” Salazar said at a media roundtable in Oklahoma City.