Energy policy — geothermal: Chaffee County League of Women Voters meeting recap

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From The Chaffee County Times (Kathy Davis):

During the meeting at the Sangre De Cristo Electric Association community meeting room, Colorado Division of Water Resources and state water engineer Kevin Rein spoke about the effects of Colorado water law on the development of geothermal energy. Bureau of Land Management geologist Melissa Smeins spoke about the process of obtaining a lease of federal or public land and the permit processes.

Rein, who is the water administrator for surface water or geothermal water, said, “Geothermal energy is energy that is extracted from the natural heat of the earth.” On a map of Colorado he pointed out what he described as a “hot spot” for geothermal energy in Chaffee County, Mount Princeton Hot Springs. “It is the best spot for geothermal potential,” he said. Interest in the development of geothermal energy includes the possibility of development of a power plant for electricity, Rein said. Thirty-five test wells have been drilled and Cyprus Amax, the former owner of the Climax mine, did most of these several years ago. “A geothermal power plant for electricity would have no mining fossil fuels and no boiler and no transportation,” Rein said. In answer to a question about whether or not the process cools the resource, Rein said it is not known exactly much it would cool the resource. “Some have been operating for a long time and the resource is not affected. We have to look at it case by case,” he said.

Geothermal energy also could be a direct use such as heating greenhouses or hot springs pools. Other potential areas for geothermal energy development are Poncha Hot Springs near Poncha Springs and Waunita Hot Springs near Doyleville.

More geothermal coverage here and here.

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