Energy policy — hydroelectric: Wagon Wheel Ranch above Creede flips the switch on their shiny new 310 kw generation plant

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

The $1.3 million project at the Humphreys family’s Wagon Wheel Ranch will supply electricity to the grid through the San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative and, state leaders hope, spur more development of small-scale hydropower. Project leader and family member Ruth Brown oversaw the project and thanked a long list of government officials, engineers, contractors and family members during a ceremony at the ranch, which sits roughly 12 miles south of town…

[Project leader and family member Ruth Brown] said picking up the larger project became possible when state lawmakers passed a renewable energy standard in 2006. Because of that bill, the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association can claim renewable energy credits when the ranch’s power comes on the grid. She also was aided by a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture…

[Gary Boring, who supervised the construction for Moltz Constructors of Cody, Wyo] said one of the biggest challenges for his company, which works on dams and hydropower projects throughout the West, was developing the siphon that draws water from the reservoir’s surface then sends it down a 650-foot penstock to the generator. “This really hasn’t been done before,” Boring said. “That’s been one of the big challenges on the job is keeping that siphon going and keeping air out of the penstock.”

Despite heavy winters in the area, Boring said a bubbler system would keep the intake from icing over. He said the only limitations on the project would come in the form of a poor water year.

More hydroelectric coverage here and here.

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