The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (NCWCD) broke ground earlier this week on the 2.6-megawatt capacity Carter Lake Hydroelectric Project that will be generating power for Tri-State member system Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association by next summer. When it begins commercial service in 2012, this will be the largest (in capacity and generation output) hydro plant serving a Tri-State member co-op.
The Carter Lake project is being constructed on the 112,000-acre-foot, 3-mile long lake of the same name in the foothills west of Loveland, Colo. The project will feature two 1,300-kilowatt horizontal Francis turbines that will generate a maximum summertime output of 2,600 kilowatts produced by a 250 cubic-feet per second water spinning the turbines.
The new hydro facility will be operated by the conservancy district and Poudre Valley REA will purchase the output of the plant under a power purchase agreement with the water district. According to officials of the NCWCD, annual generation from the hydro facility is estimated at 7 to 10 gigawatt-hours and the total projected cost of the project is $6.2 million.
At the Tri-State board meeting in February 2011, directors approved a 20-year generation contract between Tri-State and Poudre Valley REA, which, under Board Policy 115, will allow the co-op to receive a kilowatt-hour energy credit from Tri-State on its power bill for all metered generation from the Carter Lake Project.
A second contract between Tri-State and Poudre Valley REA for this project was also approved in February by the board for a 10-year period under Board Policy 117. This companion contract is intended to provide financial support from Tri-State to its members for local renewable projects that contribute toward meeting members’ renewable portfolio standard requirements in the states of Colorado and New Mexico.