Denver, Colorado [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper announced that Colorado sunshine and a new Denver solar facility will soon provide enough electricity to power the equivalent of more than 1,000 homes, as he unveiled the City’s plans to build one of the nation’s first municipally owned urban solar power plants at Stapleton.The site for the new plant is an industrial portion of the Stapleton development near Havana and Smith Road. Once complete, the solar power plant will produce between 1 to 2 MW of electricity. “Reducing our use of petroleum and coal-based energy is one of the primary goals of Denver’s Sustainable Development Initiative,” said Hickenlooper, who launched the sustainability initiative last April. “With the construction of this plant, we will continue our progress toward making the Denver metro area a national leader in renewable energy.” The plant will provide power for the Denver County Jail, with reduced general fund expenditures for electricity more than offsetting the cost of construction, according to the Mayor’s office. “Northeast Denver, with its pioneering Stapleton Redevelopment built around the vision of environmental sustainability, and home to the neighboring Sand Creek Greenway, Bluff Lake natural area and Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, is the perfect location for this exciting venture,” said District 11 City Councilman Michael Hancock, in whose district the plant will be located. The City and County of Denver will be responsible for the overall management of the solar plant and will contract out the construction and operations of the plant. A Request for Proposals (RFP) has been issued by the City, with responses due in March. Denver Utilities Manager Darryl Winer said the City hopes to break ground on the plant later this year and complete it in 2007. “Energy bills are on the rise nationwide, and as we looked for alternatives to control our costs, we found that solar energy offers a practical, environmentally responsible solution,” said Luis Colon, manager of General Services for the City and County of Denver. Last year, Mayor Hickenlooper announced Denver’s participation with 200 other U.S. cities in committing to local efforts to reduce global warming pollution, in keeping with the goals of the Kyoto Protocol, which went into effect in 141 countries on February 16, 2005.