From the Aspen Daily News (Curtis Wackerle):
Aspen electric utility officials presented details of the proposal to City Council at a work session Tuesday. Nearly a decade ago, city officials began discussions with Tri County Water Conservancy District (TCWCD) officials about plans to retrofit the existing Ridgway Reservoir dam with two turbines to generate hydropower. The new facilities are expected to come online in 2015.
The city has worked out a deal with TCWCD and the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN), which supplies Aspen with wind and coal power to supplement locally generated hydropower. Under the deal, Aspen will essentially swap coal-fired power from MEAN with power from the Ridgway dam during the winter months. The city will pay the same rate for the Ridgway power that it pays the Nebraska provider, which is 5.9 cents per kilowatt hour. The initial contract is for a 20-year agreement with MEAN and the Ridgway facility operators.
The city will only buy the Ridgway power during the winter months, as that is when Aspen’s demand peaks, but also when the supply of local hydropower is at its lowest.
“It fits our energy requirements like a well-tailored glove,” city utilities director David Hornbacher said of the Ridgway facility.