Ute Mountain Ute Tribe installs hydroelectric generators for farm operation — The #Cortez Journal #ActOnClimate

South of Hesperus August 2019 Sleeping Ute Mountain in the distance. Photo credit: Allen Best/The Mountain Town News

Click the link to read the article on the Cortez Journal website (Jim Mimiaga). Here’s an excerpt:

Technology tied into irrigation pipelines will provide power for 7,600-acre farm and Bow and Arrow Brand corn mill

The kinetic energy that irrigation water produces as it surges through pressurized pipe on the Ute Mountain Farm and Ranch Enterprise is wasted as it is reduced to operate the center-pivot sprinkler system. Now, that precious power can be captured and used. The Ute Mountain Farm and Ranch Enterprise decided to capture the dissipated energy through a series of small hydroelectric power plants placed on irrigation lines that serve center-pivot sprinklers on the 7,700-acre farm southwest of Towaoc.

This summer, the tribe started up its first hydroelectric generator on an irrigation line for a field prepped for winter wheat on the farm, which has 110 center pivots. Two more generators are installed on nearby field irrigation lines and are staged to begin operations. By 2024, the tribe will have 10 hydropower plants capturing the energy from the pressurized pipes, which drop in elevation from the nearby Towaoc Highline Canal…

On the farm, nondescript buildings that house the turbines, piping, generators and electrical panels hum and whistle with the sounds of renewable energy. Water from the irrigation line surges into the turbine at more than 200 pounds per square inch as it drops 220 feet in elevation from the nearby Towaoc Highline Canal, engineers said. The plant captures 18 kilowatts of energy from the flow but leaves enough water pressure to power the center pivot. Once all online, electricity produced from all 10 plants covers electricity costs for the farm and the adjacent Bow and Arrow Brand corn mill.

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe area map via USBR/Ten Tribes Partnership Tribal Water Study

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