From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
A hydropower project at Pueblo Dam has been given a green light by the Bureau of Reclamation and is in line for a $17.4 million state loan.
A finding of no significant impact was issued last week for the project being spearheaded by the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. Other partners in the project are Pueblo Water and Colorado Springs Utilities.
The Southeastern district will seek a $17.4 million loan for the project from the Colorado Water Conservation Board today. The loan would be for 30 years at 2 percent interest.
A 7 megawatt hydropower facility is anticipated at the north outlet works, which was constructed by Utilities as part of the Southern Delivery System.
“A hydropower plant and associated facilities will be constructed at the base of Pueblo Dam, utilize the dam’s north outlet works and immediately return flows to the Arkansas River downstream of the dam,” said Signe Snortland, area manager of Reclamation’s Eastern Colorado Area Office.
The next step will be negotiation of a lease of power privilege contract.
About 1.4 miles of new power and fiber optic lines also will be constructed to connect the hydropower plant to Black Hills Energy’s substation at Lake Pueblo.
Construction is expected to begin later this year, with the first power generation to begin in 2018.