Energy policy — geothermal: Upper Ark gets briefing from Mount Princeton Geothermal LLC

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Here’s a report about last Thursday’s presentation to the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District about Mount Princeton’s proposed geothermal project in Chaffee County, from Ron Sering writing for The Mountain Mail. From the article:

Fred Henderson III of Mount Princeton Geothermal LLC, who wants to develop geothermal energy near Mount Princeton hot springs, recently completed another round of research. Colorado School of Mines summer field camp personnel visited and conducted additional research on area geology and hydrology, marking the third consecutive year of research by the college. “They’re coming again next year, but after that have been invited to Idaho,” Henderson said. He stressed the project is subject to a battery of regulatory reviews by the Colorado Department of Water Resources. “All will have public meetings mandated by the DWR,” Henderson said. “Citizens are entitled to raise concerns before all permitting.”

The effort has completed the first of a four-phase project plan – thermal gradient drilling to determine potential to generate electricity using geothermal energy. Researchers found the hottest known geothermal resources in the state. Three additional phases are planned, with hoped-for development of an electric generation plant within the next few years. “Where will the facility be?” Henderson said. “It depends where the resources are.” Henderson added size of the facility will depend upon resources available. “We could do a three megawatt facility and make a profit,” Henderson said. He said the goal is to build structures the approximate size of the greenhouses on-site at Mount Princeton Hot Springs…

A technique proposed by Henderson is “pump and dump” which pulls hot water from the ground, through a heat exchanger, transferring heat to a fluid with a boiling point lower than water. Resulting steam drives turbines to generate electricity. Water is then pumped via injection wells back to its source. Henderson explained the technique is nonconsumptive of water resources. “It’s critical to return the water, because it will be reheated,” Henderson said.

More geothermal coverage here and here.

Southern Delivery System update

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Here’s an update on Colorado Springs Utilities proposed Southern Delivery System, from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

“The people who are supposed to be in oversight agencies are not looking out for me,” rancher Gary Walker said Monday. “I’m sure Colorado Springs has met one-on-one with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Pueblo County commissioners. I have asked for that, but it hasn’t happened yet. The playing field isn’t level.” Walker’s latest complaint comes after last week’s action by the Army Corps of Engineers to deny requests for a public hearing on SDS. The Corps explained the Bureau of Reclamation’s environmental impact statement sufficiently covered most of the issues in the case. Reclamation issued a record of decision approving the SDS use of federal facilities at Lake Pueblo on March 20. It will negotiate contracts with the SDS partners – Colorado Springs, Security, Fountain and Pueblo West – at a later date.

The Bureau of Reclamation has not visited Walker Ranches to discuss his concern about rare native plants that are still being catalogued by the Nature Conservancy and the Colorado Natural Heritage program, Walker said. “With my finding of rare and endangered plants in the SDS’s proposed route and with the ongoing damage that was caused by your last pipeline that crossed my property, I was in hope of having some semblance of equality in this issue,” Walker wrote in an e-mail to the Bureau of Reclamation Monday…

Reclamation ran a five-year public process on the project, and provided other opportunities for Walker to comment, said Kara Lamb, public information officer for the bureau. “All of those environmental mitigations are included in the final EIS,” Lamb said. “And there is another public process on the horizon when contract negotiations start.”[…]

Last month, Colorado Springs City Council voted to move completion of the first phase of the $1 billion-plus pipeline project to 2016, from the announced completion date of 2012. “We believe the 2016 in-service date provides adequate time to address Mr. Walker’s concerns and develop specific mitigation plans for his property. It’s our intent to work closely with Mr. Walker on these plans,” said Keith Riley, SDS planning and permitting manager. “We’ve been working on a rare plant study with the Colorado Natural Heritage program – the group recommended by Mr. Walker,” Riley added. “We’ve also been working to identify some areas to do test plots for revegetation after pipeline construction. This will allow us to test the revegetation process to ensure it will be effective.”

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.