As of May 1, SMPA will buy the hydroelectric energy produced at the Smuggler-Union Hydroelectric Power Plant previously purchased by Colorado’s investor-owned Xcel Energy.
The 500-kilowatt plant will generate approximately 2,000 megawatt hours a year – enough electricity to power about 2,000 average American homes, according to SMPA.
“We’re very excited to bring this power back to our local members,” said SMPA General Manager Kevin Ritter. “Telluride has a rich hydro-electric tradition, but up until now we weren’t able to keep that power local.”
The Bridal Veil Hydro Plant is one of the nation’s oldest hydroelectric facilities. It was constructed in the late 1800s to supply power to a Smuggler-Union Mine. It sits atop at 400-foot cliff overlooking Telluride. The water source for the power plant originates at Blue Lakes and eventually tumbles over the cliff as Bridal Veil Falls.
SMPA and the Town of Telluride are having discussions about purchasing renewable energy credits from the Bridal Veil project in an effort to help the town achieve its renewable energy goals.
“We’re currently working with town officials to develop a program in which the town will be the beneficiary of the renewable energy generated by Bridal Veil,” Ritter said. “The energy produced will naturally flow into the Telluride area, helping to power homes and businesses.”
“We are happy to have secured this local source of clean, renewable energy for our members,” said Brad Zaporski, SMPA manager of member services. “This is just one more step towards fulfilling our goal to add more local renewable energy to our system.”