Delta-Montrose Electric Assn’s South Canal hydro construction on schedule for 2013 completion

The 6-megawatt South Canal Hydroelectric Project, being developed by Tri-State member Delta-Montrose Electric Association (Montrose, Colo.) and the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association, is six months along on a construction timetable that projects completion by next summer (July 1, 2013), according to Jim Heneghan, DMEA’s renewable energy engineer.

The project, which is being developed on the aforementioned irrigation canal northwest of Montrose, is comprised of two active construction sites. The upstream site is where water will be diverted and sent through a penstock (an underground pipe) to the powerhouse, where a turbine/generator will convert the falling water to electricity. A second site, nearly two miles downstream, is the site of the tailrace, where the water is returned to the canal, via pipeline.

Heneghan said the concrete work on the powerhouse is about one-third complete and some of the major components related to the turbine/generator are scheduled for arrival this week. DMEA is also exploring the option of extending its use of the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds it is using to finance this $22 million project, to place an additional generator at a third site on the South Canal.

The South Canal hydro project intake site, where the water will be diverted into the powerhouse, is shown. Completion is slated for next summer.

Tri-State is also supporting this project through its board policy incentives that encourage its members to develop local renewable facilities in their service territories. When it is completed next year, the South Canal project will be the largest member-sponsored hydroelectric facility on the association’s system.

Other recent Tri-State and member hydro projects of note include the Tri-State board’s approval of a power purchase agreement to receive a portion of the output of a planned 8-megawatt hydro facility at Ridgway Dam in Ouray County, Colo., while Poudre Valley REA (Fort Collins, Colo.) became a customer of a 2.6-megawatt Carter Lake hydroplant west of Berthoud, Colo., in May of this year.

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