Energy policy — hydroelectric: Aspen’s Maroon Creek micro-hydroelectric plant generates 2.7 percent of the city’s supply on average

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From the Aspen Daily News (Curtis Wackerle):

Total capital costs on the plant, from the original construction through today, including the Deane buyout, equal $1.33 million, according to the city. Combined with operating costs of $182,500 since 1994, that brings total Maroon Creek plant expenses to $1.51 million…

Since the new turbine was installed and the necessary repairs completed, Maroon Creek hydro has supplied an average of 2.7 percent of the city electric utility’s power. Numerous factors, including natural streamflow and maintenance issues, determine how much power the plant can generate on an annual basis, but the number has reached as high as 2.27 million kwh in 2007 and as low as 1.1 million kwh in 2010…

The city transfers the electricity to the Holy Cross Energy grid, and is given a credit for the power on its monthly bill from the Nebraska utility — the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN). Over the life of the plant, the price the city has paid for MEAN power averages out at 3.8 cents per kwh, which brings the value of the Maroon Creek energy transfer at $990,000 since 1994. The price of MEAN power — and thus the city’s reimbursement rate for its hydropower — continues to rise and currently averages about 5.5 cents per kwh, Overeynder said. The city also saves money from the power it generates by not being charged “wheeling” and “facilities” fees. Wheeling refers to the cost of transferring MEAN power from Nebraska, and the Maroon Creek plant has saved $107,136 in those fees over the 16 years since good records have been kept…

When the plant was originally proposed, environmental concerns about streamflow were raised, just as they have been with the current Castle Creek plan. The city ended up amending its original proposal for the Maroon Creek plant, which would have left a minimum of 8 cfs in the creek, upping the minimum streamflow to 14 cfs.

More hydroelectric coverage here

and here.

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