September’s Government Affairs, Energy, and Education Committee meeting hosted Dustin Smith, executive director of SolarTAC, located in Aurora.
Two days prior to the Sept. 7 meeting, Smith shared the news of the completion of a new $1.5 million testing facility, a vision he put into motion 10 years ago. The 74-acre SolarTAC site offers flat, graded topography and excellent insolation conditions with more than 300 days of sunshine a year in one of the most progressive renewable energy states in the country.
Testing supported by SolarTAC includes: Solar Technologies – Photovoltaic and Thermal, Balance of System Components (inverters, trackers, controls turbines, batteries), Performance Testing and Validation, Standards Development, Grid Interconnection, Dispatch-ability, Reliability, O&M and Energy Storage.
Following Smith’s presentation, Jean Lim with League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradans (LOGIC) updated meeting attendees on their current project. LOGIC seeks to elevate the voices of Coloradans around the state living near current and proposed oil and gas operations and for all concerned citizens working to pass balanced energy development policies that protect neighborhoods, homes, and the Colorado quality of life. LOGIC seeks smarter policies that prioritize public health, safety, and natural resources.
LOGIC is currently working with the city of Broomfield, specifically a community called Wildgrass, and mineral rights’ landowners who are being pushed into forced pooling. Forced pooling is a process available through the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) that essentially forces production on an unleased mineral interest. Forced pooling is typically a last resort for operators when they cannot come to terms on an oil and gas lease with a mineral owner. In Colorado, owning your mineral rights doesn’t necessarily protect you from drilling. An obscure provision in Colorado law allows energy companies to drill under residential communities even when homeowners own their mineral rights but don’t want to lease them.
The main concern of citizens and what LOGIC continues to debate is how far well pads should be set back from schools, water sources and homes, to ensure health and safety of residents.