Board approves PPA from new hydro plant in Colo.

The association’s board of directors recently approved a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) between Tri-State and Tri-County Water Conservancy District from a new 8-megawatt hydroelectric generating plant that will be constructed at the existing Ridgway Dam and reservoir in Ouray County, Colo.

A new 8-megawatt hydro facility at the Ridgway Dam (shown) will supply power to Tri-State when it is completed in 2014.

“The unique aspect of this project is that the water district will have two PPAs for the electricity produced at the site,” said Brad Nebergall, senior vice president of energy management. “For eight months of the year the power will be sold to the city of Aspen and for the other four months – June through September – the plant’s output will be sold to Tri-State,” he said. Tri-State’s summertime portion of the generation is projected to be about 60 percent of the hydro plant’s annual energy output, according to Nebergall.

The project will be developed and operated by the water conservancy district under a Lease of Power Privilege arrangement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. It will be comprised of two generators – a larger 7.2 megawatt unit and an 800-kilowatt unit and is expected to be on line by the spring of 2014.

The plant site is located within Tri-State’s member system San Miguel Power Association’s (Nucla, Colo.), service territory and, as such, will receive station electric service from the co-op. The facility will connect to a nearby existing 115-kV transmission line that is scheduled to be transferred in 2014 from San Miguel Power to Tri-State ownership under the ongoing Board Policy 109 asset transfer program.

Annual output of this hydropower plant is estimated to be 24 gigawatt-hours during average water years.

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