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Pueblo Dam to generate hydro power next year - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Pueblo Dam to generate hydro power next year

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Artist rendering of the proposed hydroelectric generating station to be built at the Pueblo Reservoir Artist rendering of the proposed hydroelectric generating station to be built at the Pueblo Reservoir
File image of Lake Pueblo November 20, 2016 File image of Lake Pueblo November 20, 2016
PUEBLO -

The Pueblo Dam will soon be producing enough renewable energy to power 3,000 homes. The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District plans to begin construction of the $19.5 million hydroelectric generating station later this year. The construction site will be located downstream form the Pueblo Dam River Outlet which was constructed to serve as the connection for the Colorado Springs Utilities Southern Delivery System.

"We'll be using the water that's flowing into the river again, we won't be consuming any of that water," explained Conservancy District spokesman Chris Woodka.

The District borrowed $17 million from the Colorado Water Conservation Board to build the plant. It will house a trio of turbines, each capable of producing electricity whether the river is moving fast or slow.

"We designed it so that it would at several different flows so that we could get the maximum production out of it," Woodka said.

With a rating of 7.5 megawatts, the plant will create enough power for roughly 3,000 homes. It's the kind of clean power that City leaders in Pueblo want for their community.

Council passed an ordinance Monday setting a goal of 100-percent renewable energy inside of twenty years.

"I think it's a worthy goal, it depends on the technology, what happens with batteries what happens with storage," said Councilman Larry Atencio. "Solar is going to get better, wind is going to get better and by 2035 it might just be possible."

Unfortunately, Pueblo is not one of the buyers for the electricity that will come from the hydro plant. The District is still in negotiations, but Woodka said the likely recipients will be the City of Fountain and the Arkansas River Power Authority.

"We're just happy to be part of a project that helps fill some of the renewable energy gap, we think that in the future going forward it'll become more and more important to find alternative sources of power and this is one of them."

Atencio did point out that Black Hills Energy, the power company in Pueblo, has its own goal of producing 65 percent of its power from renewable sources. So, he sees similarities between the City and its power franchisee when it comes to renewable energy goals.

The Conservancy District expects to generate around $1.4 million annually from the sale of it's electricity. Groundbreaking is expected to take place in May and Woodka said their goal is to have the power plant go online in the Spring of 2018.

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