Grand Lake hydroelectric project moves to next step | SkyHiDailyNews.com

Grand Lake hydroelectric project moves to next step

Hydroelectric power — It is a term that conjures notions of massive engineering efforts like the Hoover Dam.

The hydroelectric power project being considered by the town of Grand Lake is of significantly smaller proportions.

The hydroelectric project is still in initial stages of development and is some time away from the start of actual construction. Initial proposals place the hydro-generating unit within Grand Lake's existing water treatment plant located north of downtown on the boundary with Rocky Mountain National Park.

Grand Lake Town Manager David Hook said plans have been in the works for the past several years to develop the hydroelectric power project.

Grand Lake has now contracted with Telluride Energy for consulting work on the project. The company submitted preliminary findings to the Town Board late last month. The findings indicate a "pump as turbine configuration with capacity of approximately 20 kW … Expected generation would be approximately 150,000 kWh annually."

The total project construction costs are estimated at $175,000 with an additional $50,000 for providing connection to the adjacent well pumping station, bringing the total projected cost to $225,000.

Telluride Energy estimates annual revenues of approximately $14,500 in its preliminary findings. The findings assume Grand Lake will be able to "enter into a net metering arrangement to sell the output from the hydro project."

The Board of Trustees approved an agreement between the Town of Grand Lake and Telluride Energy at its Sept. 22 meeting. The scope of work to be performed by Telluride Energy is outlined in documents provided by Grand Lake.

Telluride Energy will finalize feasibility studies regarding the project including verification of available water flows and a finalization of the economic analysis.

In a letter to the Grand Lake Board dated Aug. 21 Telluride Energy's Kurt Johnson wrote, "The project looks technically and economically feasible, pending verification of key assumptions."

Telluride Energy will conduct negotiations with Mountain Parks Electric regarding a net metering and interconnection agreement and will prepare and file applications for exemption from the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 under the auspices of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. They will also complete the preliminary engineering design working in collaboration with subconsultant Rentricity.

An anticipated project schedule provided by Telluride Energy estimates construction on the project to begin in the summer of 2015 with construction wrapping up later that summer.