From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
“This is a big deal,” Bill Bennett, energy use adviser for Sangre de Cristo Electric said Thursday. “Everyone in the valley should be interested in this project. This is a nonpolluting, renewable power supply that could provide all the electricity this valley needs.”
Bennett’s comments came during the monthly meeting of the Upper Arkansas Valley Conservancy District, which heard a presentation from Fred Henderson, of Mount Princeton Geothermal LLC.
Gov. Bill Ritter’s office has scheduled another meeting on geothermal development from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Upper Ark offices, 339 East U.S. 50.
Last month, the Upper Ark board heard concerns from some residents in the Buena Vista area about the potential impacts of geothermal power generation. Henderson attempted to address those concerns – noise, the potential for earthquakes, land disturbance – during Thursday’s presentation. “I can’t answer all the questions. This is a three- to four-year project,” Henderson said. “We need to drill into the deep aquifer before we can even decide where the plant would be.”
Bennett said Sangre de Cristo’s lines could easily accommodate the output from a 10 megawatt plant, adding that such a plant could easily provide most of the 104 million kilowatt hours Sangre de Cristo customers used last year. “People fight this because they don’t understand it,” Bennett said. “They should be fighting to get this.” Ironically, geothermal power could have little to do with water rights, even though it would likely be administered by the Division of Water Resources. That’s because no water would be consumed in what Henderson described as a “pump and dump” system. Essentially, water would be pumped up from the heat source in the area – which lies somewhere below the 2,000-foot level if engineering predictions are correct – run through a sort of reverse air conditioner and reinjected into the deep underground reservoir. Six extraction and four injection units would be air-cooled, again using no water. What deep-well drilling will attempt to show in the next phase of the project is where the reservoir lies, Henderson said.