San Luis Valley

Tee PooleNo one bid to build solar projects in the San Luis Valley this week.

Oh come on, solar industry. You know you want a piece of Colorado.

The rights to build solar projects on 3,705 acres of high-altitude, federally owned desert in Colorado were put up for bid on Thursday. But not a single bidder showed up.

The outcome was a disappointment for U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials. They were conducting the first of many planned solar auctions on public lands in the West.

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The officials are describing the auction as a learning experience and say they will try again. The Denver Post reports:

Five companies had filed preliminary applications for the three San Luis Valley parcels, and there were another 27 inquires about the sites, according to Bureau of Land Management officials.

Based on that interest, officials scheduled an auction at the BLM Colorado office in Lakewood for the 3,700 acres of valley land.

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“We are going to have to regroup and figure out what didn’t work,” said Maryanne Kurtinaitis, renewable-energy program manager for the BLM in Colorado.

Ken Johnson, a spokesperson for the Solar Energy Industries Association, suggested that the auction was premature.

“To date, BLM has yet to finalize any regional mitigation plans,” Johnson told the newspaper. “Frankly, it’s not smart business to commit to something until you’ve read the fine print.” Solar developers may also have been concerned about securing financing in a time of market uncertainty.