Consortium proposes large solar power plant

PUEBLO COUNTY, COLORADO - A consortium of companies is looking at land east of Pueblo for what could be one of the nation's largest solar-power projects.

Helios Energy Partners want to build a 200- to 300-megawatt solar plant. The $900 million proposal calls for a partnership among Pueblo County, Helios and the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

The solar arrays would be installed on land at the depot.

The likely customer for the electricity would be Xcel Energy, which is taking bids to add more power from renewable energy sources.

A 200-megawatt plant could generate enough power for about 60,000 homes.

Pueblo County commissioners and the county attorney are review a proposed partnership with Helios.

"We're looking at a partnership with the county in an effort to respond to a request for proposals from Xcel Energy," said Paul Seby, a Helios manager.

Helios is a consortium of three companies: developer KRS Energy, solar panel-manufacturer SolFocus and a financial company that will remain private for now under a nondisclosure agreement.

The group is seeking the county's support for the proposal. In return, Seby said the county could possibly share in the profits besides gaining new jobs and tax revenue for the area.

Seby said the county's support could lend weight to Helios' bid on Xcel's proposal and help the effort to build on unused land at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

The Army plans to destroy more than 2,600 tons of mustard agent in projectiles and cartridges stored at the 21,000-acre site. Helios is seeking a minimum of 2,000 to 3,000 acres of the unused land.


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