By Jacob Maranda                                                                                                                                       April 5, 2024

A grassroots neighborhood coalition led by the creator of 'MacGyver' is channeling that problem-solving character to try and stop a global renewable energy company.

Lee Zlotoff stares out over the barbed-wire border of Eldorado, about 25 yards away from where water slowly drips down a fountain next to his home's front door. There, a few feet from the thin fence, is a gas line that stretches dozens of miles across central. Santa Fe County and juts above the ground in several spots as it passes near Eldorado at Santa Fe, the census-designated place home to around 6,000 people 15 miles south of New Mexico's capital.

Over the fence, far past the exposed gas line, is the proposed site of a large solar and batteryenergy storage project. Zlotoff points to the land where that project would sit, roughly 1 mile from his home on what's currently an undeveloped sprawl of low trees, shrubs and grasses. AES Corp., a global renewable energy company based in Arlington, Virginia, has picked a nearly 700-acre area on privately owned land for its utility-scale solar and storage development. Dubbed Rancho Viejo Solar, it would generate nearly 100 megawatts of solar power alongside about 50 megawatts worth of lithium-ion battery energy storage, according to AES' website.

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