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News Release: Energy Department Signs Option and Lease for Durango Solar Project

September 12, 2012 - 2:18pm

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The U.S. Department of Energy today announced completion of initial steps toward developing a solar energy facility on a uranium mill tailings disposal site in southwestern Colorado.

The DOE Office of Legacy Management and American Capital Energy have agreed to a three-year option on a lease of up to 25 years on the surface of the Durango Disposal Site near Durango, Colorado, to establish a solar photovoltaic power generating facility. Upon completion, the site could accommodate a system generating up to 4.5 megawatts, or enough energy to power approximately 1,000 homes.

“We look forward to working with American Capital Energy to provide renewable energy opportunities to the people of Durango and to support the ongoing beneficial reuse of former nuclear energy sites,” said Jalena Dayvault, the DOE Site Manager for Durango. “A solar photovoltaic system at the Durango Disposal Site supports the government-wide initiative to generate renewable energy from federal lands and is a significant new development in the Legacy Management’s efforts toward the safe and beneficial reuse of managed sites.”

Under the terms of the option agreement, American Capital Energy has up to three years to perform due diligence, acquire permits, and execute an interconnection agreement with a local utility. Once preliminary requirements and agreements are in place, the company will begin construction of the solar installation on 18 acres on the disposal cell cover as well as 3.5 acres adjacent to the disposal cell. The 25-year lease term will begin when the system begins generating electrical power.

“American Capital Energy is excited to see the DOE take a leadership role in promoting the repurposing of otherwise unusable legacy waste disposal sites for beneficial public use,” said Tom Anderson, American Capital Energy Chief Development Officer. “We believe that a significant portion of future U.S. electrical needs could be met by deploying solar PVs on landfills and brownfields such as the Durango Disposal Site. We are honored to have received this award and look forward to working with the DOE, the local utility, and local stakeholders to bring clean PV power to the Durango area.”

The Durango Disposal Site, a 40-acre uranium mill tailing disposal cell located on a 120.6-acre site located 3.5 miles southwest of Durango in Bodo Canyon, is managed by the DOE Office of Legacy Management. The Durango mill, which was located ¼ mile southwest of Durango, processed uranium ore for U.S. Government national defense programs from 1949 to 1963. DOE completed the removal of tailings and other tailings-contaminated materials from the mill site and adjacent properties and located and stabilized them in the disposal cell in 1991.

For more information on the Durango Disposal Site and the solar project, please visit the DOE Legacy Management website at http://www.lm.doe.gov/Durango/Disposal/Sites.aspx.

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