Energy policy — hydroelectric: Hydropower retrofit for Lake DeWeese Reservoir?

From The Wet Mountain Tribune (Nora Drenner):

Discussion regarding the matter ensued during the county commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 7. At that time, Fremont/Custer energy coordinator Karin Milisavljevich of CSU told commissioners Lynn Attebery, Jim Austin and Carole Custer that she is writing a grant seeking $25,000 from Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy (ACRE). Total cost of the project is $27,500 so the remaining $2,500 would have to come from local sources, said Milisavljevich. She also said numerous stakeholders within Custer County were interested in the feasibility study to investigate the potential Lake DeWeese dam has to offer Custer County as a secondary power source. Furthermore, said Milisavljevich, Lake DeWeese has been identified by the Idaho National Research Laboratory as a potential micro hydro generating site…

Possible stakeholders held a meeting Thursday, Sept. 2, said Milisavljevich. In attendance were commissioners Attebery and Austin, Silver Cliff mayor Allen Butler, and representatives with the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, Bureau of Land Management, Division of Wildlife, Custer County Natural Resource and Conservation Services, and DeWeese-Dye Ditch and Reservoir Company of Canon City, which owns the reservoir and dam.

The dam was constructed in the early 1900s to bring agricultural water from Grape Creek in Custer County to the Lincoln Park area south of Canon City…

Currently, said Milisavljevich, Custer County has a single source of power, which is transmitted across 50 to 100 miles of lines. “A micro-hydro plant could provide much needed back-up power,” said Milisavljevich.

More hydroelectric coverage here and here.

Governor Ritter appoints Monica Marquez to the Colorado Supreme Court

A picture named grandmesa.gif

Here’s the release from Governor Ritter’s office (Evan Dreyer/Myung Oak Kim):

Gov. Bill Ritter today appointed Monica Marie Marquez, a 41-year-old deputy attorney general, to the Colorado Supreme Court. The appointment to the seven-member court is effective Nov. 30, when Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey retires after 23 years on the bench.

“Today I am pleased to select Deputy Attorney General Monica Marquez to serve on Colorado’s highest court,” Gov. Ritter said. “Monica is an analytical and independent thinker. She has a wealth of personal and professional experiences, and a deep reverence for the role our legal system plays in the everyday lives of Coloradans, and in the inter-relationship between our courts and public policy. She respects the rule of law, is conscientious and will bring an unbiased and just perspective to the court and all the cases that it hears.

“Naming a new Supreme Court justice is a tremendous responsibility and privilege,” the Governor said. “I had three exemplary choices and a difficult decision to make. While Chief Justice Mullarkey leaves behind an irreplaceable legacy, I am confident Monica Marquez will serve the people of Colorado with distinction, honor and integrity.”

Marquez leads the State Services Section of the Attorney General’s Office, which represents nine of the 16 executive branch agencies in Colorado. She specializes in appellate litigation and has represented the state, in both state and federal appellate courts, in cases involving fiscal policy, education, healthcare, elections, redistricting and campaign finance.

“I am both humbled and deeply honored to be appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court,” Marquez said. “I look forward to serving the State of Colorado in this new capacity, and I promise to bring an exceptional work ethic, a collaborative spirit, an open mind, and a reverence for the rule of law.”

Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office in 2002, she was an associate at the law firm Holme Roberts & Owen and a judicial clerk for two federal court judges.

After graduating from Grand Junction High School in 1987, Marquez earned her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 1991 and her law degree in 1997 from Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Before attending law school, Marquez taught and worked with inner-city youth in Camden, N.J., and Philadelphia with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and St. Carthage Catholic School.

She currently serves on the boards of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association and the Colorado GLBT Bar Association.

The current salary for a Supreme Court justice is $139,660 a year. Marquez will serve for a provisional term of two years. If retained by voters, she will then serve a 10-year term.

Coyote Gulch readers may remember that the Colorado Supreme Court is the court of appeals for Water Court decisions.

Energy policy — hydroelectric: Telluride area update

A picture named bridalveilfallstelluride.jpg

From The Telluride Watch (Martinique Davis):

According to [Kurt Johnson, owner of local hydropower development firm Telluride Energy], the national hydroelectricity industry is on the brink of a new phase of innovation thanks to a more hospitable legislative environment, both on the national as well as the state and local government level. “There is a huge amount of renewed interest in hydropower, and that hasn’t been the case in a long time,” he says, explaining that a recent study commissioned by the National Hydropower Association estimates that about 60,000 megawatts of new hydropower capacity could be developed in the U.S. (To put that in perspective, consider that existing hydropower plants generate about 100 MW, or about 9 percent of the country’s total energy output.) The Colorado Governor’s Energy Office estimates, furthermore, that Colorado has several hundred attractive sites with a combined potential generating capacity of more than 1,400 MW (with one megawatt of small hydro potentially supplying power equivalent to the electricity needs of 500 to 750 homes).

More hydroelectric coverage here and here.

Arkansas Basin Roundtable meeting recap

A picture named arkansasbasinalluvialaquifersubregions.jpg

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The [Gunnison and Arkansas] roundtables met in June and assigned committees to look at how water in the Aspinall Unit — Blue Mesa, Morrow Point and Crystal reservoirs — could be used to benefit the entire state. The committee will meet again Friday to further discuss the issue. The full roundtables are planning to meet again as well, possibly in November.

he Arkansas Basin Roundtable Wednesday voted to approve a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation, which runs the Aspinall Unit, with questions about whether the service contract for Blue Mesa could be changed. Basically, the letter seeks to find out if the state could store 200,000 acre-feet of water annually in Blue Mesa, carry it over from one year to the next without reduction and remain exempt from having the water reapportioned in the event of shortage. The water would be used to head off a call on the Colorado River by downstream states under the 1922 Colorado River Compact…

The issue is important to the Arkansas River basin because most of its diversions — and all of the major ones — are junior in water rights priority to the 1922 compact. Twin Lakes, Homestake and the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project were all decreed after the seven-state compact.

More coverage from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

In late 2004, the CWCB issued the first draft of the Statewide Water Supply Initiative, which projected an 18-percent gap between municipal water supplies and needs by the year 2030. Since that time, roundtables and the Interbasin Compact Committee have been working with the CWCB on solutions to avoid drying up thousands of acres of farm ground. The planning period has been expanded to 2050 and climate changes are being taken into account. A series of reports has been prepared and comments are being solicited from the roundtables and the public on the results, [Todd Doherty, a CWCB staffer] said.

A series of reports has been prepared and comments are being solicited from the roundtables and the public on the results, Doherty said. Among highlights:

Colorado municipal water users currently use 1.1 million acre-feet annually, and will need between 600,000-1 million acre-feet more by 2050, depending on growth and the success of projects already planned. Identified projects would provide about 437,000 acre-feet.

– The Arkansas River basin will need between 36,000-109,000 acre-feet of new municipal water supplies by 2050. If projects like Southern Delivery System and the Arkansas Valley Conduit are completed, the need for new supplies will be at the lower end of the spectrum, but there will be a need.

– If water projects are developed in traditional ways — mainly buying agricultural rights and using existing reservoirs — it would cost $18 billion to meet the municipal gap. With cooperative projects and programs — new reservoirs, pipelines and temporary agricultural transfers — the cost could drop to $11 billion.

– The needs are greatest on the Front Range, while the sources of new supply are on the Western Slope.
One surprising preliminary finding shows it would be less expensive per acre-foot of water gained to build any of four transmountain projects. It would cost more to treat lower quality water from the lower reaches of the Arkansas or South Platte, Doherty explained.

It was the first time the state has indicated a shortfall in water available to agriculture. Until now all reports have focused on the municipal gap and indicated agriculture would dry up because cities were willing to pay higher prices for the water.

More Arkansas River basin coverage here.