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Solar project at Truckee Corp Yard on hold

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

Despite plans to move forward with a solar array at the Truckee Corp Yard, the Truckee Town Council has pressed pause on the project while looking at other ways the town could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I want to see solar in our community but more than that I want to see greenhouse gas reductions,” said Truckee Vice Mayor Anna Klovstad.

In November 2017, the town council adopted the goal to power town facilities with 100% renewable electricity by 2020, as well as intentions to power the community with 100% renewable electricity and reduce community greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2040. In this year’s budget the town approved $1.5 million to go toward the solar array project.

“The 2020 renewable electricity goal we think was really focused on carbon reduction, cost effectiveness, and setting an example,” said Dan Wilkins, Truckee’s director of public works. “We believe there are other more cost effective methods of reducing carbon associated with the towns municipal operations than this project.”

The PUD’s renewable energy sources already make up 65% of its energy portfolio with plans to add a significant amount of solar energy on the way, Dab Wilkins said.

This change of course, Wilkins said, is due to Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s high-energy portfolio. The PUD’s renewable energy sources already make up 65% of its energy portfolio with plans to add a significant amount of solar energy on the way, Wilkins said.

“A year and a half ago I was all for this project,” said Christa Finn, a utility district board member, during public comment to the council. “For total greenhouse gas reductions our money would be better spent on something else. The transportation sector in particular.”

In 2018, the town hired ARC Alternatives, a clean energy consulting firm, to determine potential upgrades the town could make. The firm found up to $4.8 million in potential solar generation projects at town sites including the corp yard, animal shelter, town hall, the train depot, and the old corp yard. In 2019, ARC Alternatives determined that the Corp Yard would be the best site for a solar array to meet the town’s goal.

Moving forward town council will decide at a later date how to best allocate the $1.5 million set aside for the project.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or hjones@sierrasun.com.


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