Stimulus Money to Fund Ouray Micro-Hydro Project
by Watch Staff
Dec 17, 2009 | 3915 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OURAY – The City of Ouray has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Colorado Governors Energy Office to install a 20 kilowatt micro-hydro generating unit to be located at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool.

“This is great news for Ouray,” said Ouray Mayor Bob Risch, “This project – along with already-completed efforts including our recent LED energy efficient streetlighting project – are establishing Ouray as a leader in clean energy, creating local jobs and saving the city money in avoided energy expenses.

Telluride Energy will be managing the project, working in collaboration with McMillon Engineering, Hydrowest, and High Tech Electrical Services.

The project will take advantage of an existing, currently underutilized pipeline adjacent to the pool site. The electrical output from the system will be net-metered to offset the electricity use of the pool complex, saving the city approximately $12,000 in annual electricity expenditures. The powerhouse for the project will be constructed by a shop class from Ouray High School. Once completed, the project will provide an added tourist attraction to visitors to Ouray Hot Springs.

Over the 30 year life of the project, the city will save approximately $370,000 – not accounting for expected electricity price increases. The project will also provide an opportunity for local students to participate in development of a clean energy project, and will avoid approximately 224,000 pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions.

Gov. Bill Ritter announced the grant award for Ouray as one of 14 New Energy Economic Development (NEED) grants to recipients across Colorado for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that will help create and retain jobs, strengthen local economies, and save money and energy.

The grants, which total about $1.5 million and are funded by the Recovery Act, will go to small businesses, school districts, nonprofits and municipalities. Projects include converting a gas boiler system to a woody biomass heating system at Western State College, using solar power to offset irrigation costs for an Alamosa farm, and retrofitting an HVAC system with efficiencies at Buena Vista schools.

“These grants reflect the way Coloradans in every corner of Colorado are helping to advance the New Energy Economy,” Gov. Ritter said. “They reflect the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that is making Colorado a national leader in building a clean-energy future and a leader in the nation’s economic recovery. These projects will help create jobs, reduce energy usage and save money.”

The NEED grants were awarded after a competitive process involving more than 200 applicants seeking nearly $45 million. The 14 grant projects will leverage more than $3.3 million in public-private local matching funds for a combined $5.8 million investment in Colorado communities.

The Governor’s Energy Office has awarded three previous NEED grant rounds in 2008 and 2009, totaling nearly $1.4 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects throughout Colorado. This is the first round of NEED grants funded with Recovery Act dollars. The Energy Office anticipates two more rounds of NEED grants before September 2010, with the next round likely to offer $2 million in grant funding early next year.
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