From The Pueblo Chieftain (Patrick Malone):
Sens. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, and Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, presented HB1083 to the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee as a job-creating measure and a logical complement to Colorado’s existing renewable energy portfolio.
TransCanada Corp. is in the early stages of exploring the South Slope project, a possible $800 million hydroelectric station near Penrose that could create up to 300 temporary jobs during its construction and 30 permanent positions. “We’re excited about the opportunity to pursue this project.” Bart Jones from the power development division of TransCanada testified. “A company like us will only undergo a project like this if we have support.”[…]
Currently, the Public Utilities Commission is required to consider clean energy and energy-efficient technologies when reviewing applications for electricity acquisition. Solar, geothermal, biomass and methane are some of the modes of energy that fall under that umbrella. Under HB1083, hydroelectricity and pumped hydroelectricity would be added to the list. “This goes a long way toward getting the PUC to look at pump storage in a little different manner,” Jones said…
The bill is structured to protect senior water rights downstream from hydro stations. Engineer Jonah Levine testified that ongoing water consumption would not be a concern under a model like the proposed South Slope project. “A facility should be able to do a one-time fill,” Levine testified. He said evaporation and seepage would represent the only water losses.
Groups that tend to eye hydroelectric projects skeptically, like Trout Unlimited and the Audubon Society, support HB1083 because it would allow the PUC to consider the impact on aquatic life by proposed projects.