“The City of Ouray has been actively working to sustain and further develop its micro-hydro potential,” said Ouray Mayor Bob Risch. “We’re hosting the workshop to help share information about how to take advantage of Colorado’s substantial, currently untapped, micro-hydro resources.”
Topics to be covered at the free workshop will include:
• Current status of micro-hydro in Colorado;
• Federal, state and local incentives available to support micro-hydro construction;
• Case studies of recently built micro-hydro projects in Colorado.
The workshop will include a tour of Ouray micro-hydro installations, including the historic Ouray power plant, one of the nation’s oldest micro-hydro generation plants. The new micro-hydro installation currently being built by the City of Ouray, with grant support from the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, will also be featured.
Workshop speakers will include the following: Colorado State Senator Bruce Whitehead; Joani Matranga (Colorado Governor’s Energy Office); Jim Heneghan (Delta-Montrose Electric Association); Kurt Johnson (Telluride Energy); Eric Jacobson (Hydrowest); Bob Risch (City of Ouray); Jack Nickerson (City of Cortez): Ruthie Brown (Humphreys Hydro); Trevor LaBorde (Coal Creek Hydro); Beverly Rich (San Juan County Historical Society); and Phil Overeynder (City of Aspen).
Government surveys have identified several hundred prospective small hydro projects in Colorado with a combined potential of about 700 megawatts. These projects have the potential to make a significant contribution to Colorado’s renewable energy mix to help meet the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, create business opportunities, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change.
The Colorado Governor’s Energy Office is currently developing a pilot program to identify and test opportunities to simplify and streamline procedures and regulations for permitting small-scale hydropower projects in an environmentally responsible manner. Colorado recently increased its renewable energy standard to require investor-owned utilities to obtain 30 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020.