Tag Archive for 'San Miguel Power'

SMPA bringing cost-efficient lighting to co-op-served communities

CP-Norwood250-captureTri-State member system San Miguel Power Association (Nucla, Colo.), will brighten the holidays this season in several of its co-op-served towns with a project to convert old technology streetlights to high efficiency LED fixtures that will deliver superior illumination and significant cost savings.

Tri-State supports these projects through its Energy Efficiency Products (EPP) program that is designed to partner with its members to offer rebate incentives to their co-op consumers who install energy efficient technologies such as LED lighting, heating and cooling equipment, and other electric products, that offer value to its members and the consumers they serve.

San Miguel Power’s municipal lighting project is planned for multiple phases beginning with the town of Norwood, where a total of 43 existing streetlights will be upgraded from obsolete mercury vapor and high pressure sodium lamps to LED illumination. To kick off the project, the first lamp (shown in photo) was recently installed at the corner of Market Street and Grand Avenue in Norwood to showcase the new brighter white lights to the public.

The co-op’s key accounts representative, Paul Hora, is encouraging feedback on the new lights and noted that $8,700 investment should yield an annual savings of nearly $2,900 plus reduced maintenance costs, since the lights are projected to have a 15 to 20-year lifespan.

Norwood’s town administrator, Patti Grafmyer, projects that the lighting retrofit will pay for itself in approximately two-and-a-half years.

Similar upgrades are also planned for Nucla and Naturita. In Nucla, the town will replace 58 fixtures for a savings of approximately $3,800 and 100 fixtures will be changed out in Naturita for a lighting tariff reduction of nearly $6,500.

San Miguel’s Hora said that the co-op also plans commercial lighting upgrades in 2016 in the towns of Ridgway, Rico and Silverton for a total of approximately 200 upgraded LED streetlights.

As is often case in many co-op served communities, San Miguel Power’s crews are also out helping everyone get in the holiday spirit by stringing LED holiday lights throughout the communities that they serve.

Aerial installation of optical ground wire on Tri-State line wraps up this month

The helicopter, among other tasks, is used to hoist the travelers shown in the photo to transmission line structures, where they are attached for pulling the optical ground wire from one structure to the next.

The helicopter, among other tasks, is used to hoist the travelers shown in the photo to transmission line structures, where they are attached for pulling the optical ground wire from one structure to the next.

If climbing transmission towers for a living sounds daunting then consider the adrenaline rush that must factor into the job of crews that rely on a specially designed, high altitude helicopter that dangles them above the nearly inaccessible (by road) mountainous terrain to reach the transmission line towers of a Tri-State line near scenic Silverton, Colo.

The contractor crew’s  job is to remove the existing static line on a 17-mile segment of the association’s Cascade-Silverton 115-kV line from the Durango Mountain Resort to the west side of Silverton and replace it with an optical ground wire that contains a core of fiber optic strands for upgraded communications and broadband services to the area.

The contractor performing the work on Tri-State’s line is Atkinson Power LLC, based in Bethesda, Maryland. The project is being funded by EAGLE-Net Alliance. EAGLE-Net is a Broomfield, Colo.-based intergovernmental entity which operates a cost-sharing cooperative that delivers a carrier quality broadband network to more than 170 communities in Colorado. Continue reading ‘Aerial installation of optical ground wire on Tri-State line wraps up this month’

Ridgway hydropower project adds to Tri-State’s renewable portfolio

View of Tri-County’s new hydropower plant that began generating for Tri-State on June 1.

View of Tri-County’s new hydropower plant that began generating for Tri-State on June 1.

Tri-State staff, member co-op personnel and a crowd of about 150 officials and guests gathered near the base of the Ridgway Reservoir and Dam in Colorado’s Ouray County, on June 6, for the dedication of Tri-County Water Conservancy District’s new 8-megawatt hydropower project that began producing renewable power for Tri-State on June 1 under a 10-year power purchase agreement.

This is a somewhat unusual project in that the water district actually has two customers purchasing power from the new hydropower plant’s generating units. The larger portion – approximately 60 percent — will be purchased by Tri-State between June and September and for the remaining months the plant’s output will be sold to the City of Aspen.

This new hydroelectric facility was built with the assistance of Tri-State, which extended a line to the site and constructed a new switching station to connect the plant to the power grid. Station service to the power house and Tri-County’s ancillary plant facilities is provided locally by Tri-State member San Miguel Power Association, based in Ridgway and Nucla. Continue reading ‘Ridgway hydropower project adds to Tri-State’s renewable portfolio’

Tri-State to receive output of new 8-megawatt hydroplant beginning in June

The 10-year power purchase agreement that Tri-State’s board of directors authorized in August 2012 is expected to come to fruition this spring when the Tri-County Water Hydropower Project begins producing power on June 1 for the G&T from its newly constructed hydroelectric generation plant at the Ridgway Dam and Reservoir in Ouray County, Colo.

Construction is nearly complete on the Tri-County Hydropower Project, which will supply power to Tri-State beginning in June.

Construction is nearly complete on the Tri-County Hydropower Project, which will supply power to Tri-State beginning in June.

The new hydroplant features two generating units – a 7.2-megawatt generator and a smaller 800-kilowatt unit – that will produce up to 8 megawatts of capacity and approximately 24 gigawatt-hours of energy during an average water year.

Under the terms of the agreement with Tri-County Water Conservancy District, Tri-State will purchase power from the Ridgway facility during the months of June, July, August and September and the City of Aspen will buy the power produced at this facility during the other eight months of the year. Despite the shorter seasonal duration for Tri-State, these are typically the year’s higher output months and the association estimates that it will receive about 60 percent of the plant’s annual generation output.

The Tri-County Water Hydropower Project is within the service territory of Tri-State member, San Miguel Power Association (Nucla, Colo.) and is receiving station electric service from the co-op. Continue reading ‘Tri-State to receive output of new 8-megawatt hydroplant beginning in June’

San Miguel Power creates LED pilot program

Telluride-LED-streetlightsTri-State member system San Miguel Power Association (Nucla, Colo.) has created a new pilot program to test the viability of LED streetlights throughout the electric co-op’s service area.

San Miguel Power’s key accounts executive Ken Haynes says the pilot program was created in accordance with SMPA goals to “increase efficiency, reliability and reduce costs.”

Tri-State member San Miguel Power Assn. creates TV ad to honor its linemen

SMPA-LinemenSan Miguel Power Association (Nucla, Colo.) has produced a new television commercial in appreciation of the electric co-op’s linemen (and woman).

According to SMPA communications executive Becky Mashburn, who wrote the commercial, the idea was an easy choice, because it focuses on the co-op’s core business, provides a contrast to energy-themed commercials and demonstrates the importance of what linemen do for the public and the co-op’s employees.

The commercial features six of SMPA’s linemen and the co-op’s staff engineer Bill Riley as the announcer. “It’s been a hit, especially in the industry and with our employees,” Mashburn said. “The linemen have appreciated it.”

SMPA has produced and aired commercials on various television stations in Colorado’s Telluride/Mountain Village region for the past few years. The “SMPA Lineman Tribute” spot is currently airing on Mountain Village Cable and Telluride TV. It’s also posted on the co-op’s Facebook page.

Tri-County Water Hydropower Project progressing ahead of schedule

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

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

Tri-State is moving closer to receiving its permit to begin construction of the interconnection station and transmission lines from the Tri-County Water Hydropower Project located at Ridgway Reservoir (Ouray County, Colo.), with approval of the Bureau of Reclamation’s recently drafted environmental assessment of the plant site in view.

The association hopes to begin construction in June and finish the Ridgway Dam Substation by November or December of this year — months ahead of the original schedule — and enter into a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Tri-County Water Conservancy District.

“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, Tri-State’s 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 8-megawatt hydro facility 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 the Ridgway plant is estimated to be 24 gigawatt-hours during average water years. The project, comprised of two generators — a larger 7.2 megawatt unit and an 800-kilowatt unit — is being developed and operated by the water conservancy district under a Lease of Power Privilege arrangement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

LED lights brighten classroom thanks to SMPA

installing-lights-in-classroomTri-State member co-op San Miguel Power Association (Nucla, Colo.) recently gave a $1,950 grant to the Positive Energy Committee at Ridgway Elementary School to buy LED lights for a classroom demonstration project to begin later this month. That committee is made up of eight fourth- and fifth-graders and their teacher.

For two months, students will compare electricity use in three classrooms: one with fluorescent tube lights, one with LED tube lights and the other powered by solar panels. Meters will measure the amount of electricity being used, the cost of power and carbon emissions. “Ultimately, we would like to be able to demonstrate good, better and best in terms of energy efficiency,” said Krista Javoronok, the committee’s teacher-adviser.

Member co-ops add more solar to their systems

The Hanger 160, a 2-megawatt solar site shown in this photo began producing energy for United Power on Dec. 5.

The Hanger 160, a 2-megawatt solar site shown in this photo began producing energy for United Power on Dec. 5.

This month, two of Tri-State’s member systems are adding significantly to their renewable portfolios with projects that will generate a combined maximum of 3 megawatts of solar power for their member-consumers. United Power’s (Brighton, Colo.) 2-megawatt photovoltaic solar array was brought on line last week and San Miguel Power’s (Nucla, Colo.) 1-megawatt community solar array is slated to begin operation later this month.

The 2-megawatt Hanger 160 project serving United’s consumers is sited in rural Adams County, near the confluence of Highway 7 and Colorado Blvd. This northern Colorado solar site comprises a total of 7,500 solar panels and is said to be the largest electric co-op-served solar field in the state of Colorado.

San Miguel Power’s nearly completed 1-megawatt community solar array is built on a 7-acre parcel in southwestern Colorado’s Paradox Valley, about 15 miles west of Naturita. According to Brad Zaporski, manager of member services for the electric co-op, it is currently the nation’s largest community-owned solar project.

San Miguel’s solar array contains a total of 4,680 solar panels, which will be eligible for purchase by its members at a cost of approximately $700 each.

Community solar projects are gaining in popularity among the association’s co-ops. Besides San Miguel, United Power, Poudre Valley REA (Fort Collins, Colo.), Delta-Montrose Electric (Montrose, Colo.) and Empire Electric (Cortez, Colo.) all have community-owned solar projects on their lines.

Three-year transmission project wrapping up on schedule

The last five miles of underground power cable was installed earlier summer for the Nucla-Sunshine transmission project completed this fall.

The three-year, 51-mile, 115-kilovolt Nucla-Sunshine transmission line project will soon be providing an improved level of service and reliability to the Telluride mountain village area and other nearby communities in southwestern Colorado.

“Construction of the line and its ancillary substations is done and Tri-State’s west-side maintenance personnel are now on site engaged in commissioning activities before the line is energized this fall,” said Pat Dille, transmission project manager.

Dille said that they expect to energize the line by the end of this month or the early part of November in time for the peak wintertime season at this world famous ski resort, which is electrically served by Tri-State member San Miguel Power Association (Nucla, Colo.).

The new line replaced a more than 60-year old, 69-kilovolt line that was owned by San Miguel Power. This antiquated line was no longer adequate to serve the electrical requirements of the Telluride area in the event that its primary 115-kilovolt line failed due to avalanche or other extreme weather events.

The 51-mile Nucla-Sunshine transmission line will boost reliability to the Telluride area when it becomes operational at the end of this month.

This line is unique to Tri-State’s transmission system because approximately 10 miles of the new 115-kV power cable was placed underground in order to satisfy landowners’ concerns. Those concerns and other siting issues delayed the construction of this project for more than a decade.

The scope of the project’s construction activities, which began in 2010, involved the trenching and installation of 10 miles of underground power cable on Wilson and Specie mesas and 41 miles of overhead line construction across rugged high country terrain that required some specialized engineering and helicopter work where, in several cases, the line spanned across canyons that are nearly a half-mile wide.

In addition, the new line and upgraded service required the construction of two new substations and extensive modifications at two existing substations.

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.

Member co-ops ramping up local solar projects

Several new photovoltaic solar projects are either under construction or in the final planning stages within Tri-State’s member co-op service territory this summer and fall. The latest of those renewable projects is a 2-megawatt solar array that is expected to begin construction during the next month at a site approximately two miles east of the Interstate 25/Highway 7 intersection in Adams County, Colo.

According to Jerry Marizza, United Power’s new energy program coordinator, the solar facility is slated for completion by mid-October 2012. The Brighton, Colo.-based co-op will contract with the owner and operator of the solar plant to receive the generation output from the site, adding to the co-op’s renewable resource portfolio.

San Miguel Power recently held a groundbreaking for what will be the nation’s largest community solar project. It will be constructed in the Paradox Valley.

One way that at least six of Tri-State’s members have found to directly involve their members in renewable power is through the sponsorship of community-owned solar projects in which the members are able to purchase one or more solar panels to help offset their electric bills. This option allows members who are not in a financial position to install a $30,000 solar system at their home or business are able to make a small investment in a solar project that will pay monthly credits on their electric bill.

Investing in a community solar project also eliminates any consumer maintenance costs since the upkeep of these systems are shouldered by the plant operators.

To date, the largest planned community solar project in the United States will be a 1-megawatt solar site now under construction in San Miguel Power’s (Nucla, Colo.) service area in southwest Colorado. The co-op, in partnership with the Clean Energy Collective, held a groundbreaking ceremony on July 31 for the San Miguel Power Community Solar Array, which is being built on a 7-acre site in the Paradox Valley, about 15 miles west of Naturita.

When completed later this fall, the array will consist of 4,680 panels, which translates to enough capacity to power about 180 homes. The 235-watt panels will be sold to San Miguel members for about $700 each.

Poudre Valley REA is currently constructing a community solar project at their headquarters in Fort Collins.

Two other member-sponsored community solar projects in the works are Poudre Valley REA’s 150-kilowatt Community Solar Farm at the co-op’s headquarters in Fort Collins, Colo., and a small solar garden that Kit Carson Electric (Taos, N.M.) is sponsoring at a school in Taos. A dedication ceremony is slated for the Poudre Valley array on August 28 and the New Mexico solar garden is scheduled for completion in early October.

Only female cooperative journey line technician in Colorado at San Miguel Power Assn.

Darcy Weimer (left) and fellow SMPA journey line technician Preston Joseph use hot sticks to work on an energized power line.

Tri-State member co-op San Miguel Power Association (Nucla, Colo.) currently employs 20 journey line technicians who are responsible for building, maintaining and fixing the co-op’s electric distribution system. As of this spring, that group now includes Darcy L. Weimer – currently the only female journey line technician working for an electric cooperative in the state of Colorado.

“We’re proud to welcome Darcy into the ranks of journeyman line technicians. She’s been with SMPA since 2007, and we’re happy to announce that she successfully completed her apprenticeship this past spring,” said SMPA general manager Kevin Ritter.

Weimer completed the Merchant Job Training and Safety Program – one of the world’s most comprehensive related training programs for power line personnel. The program is administered to line workers in 40 states throughout the U.S. and is SMPA’s chosen program for educating and training their line workers. Continue reading ‘Only female cooperative journey line technician in Colorado at San Miguel Power Assn.’

Nucla-Sunshine line construction in full swing

Construction on the 51-mile, 115-kilovolt Nucla to Sunshine Substation (near Telluride, Colo.) transmission line is in full swing according to Pat Dille, transmission project manager. This long-delayed project — due to landowner concerns — ramped up for its second year of construction activities early in May and is slated for completion in the fall of 2012.

Dille noted that contractors recently took delivery of the first 30 reels of underground power cable that will be used on the Specie Mesa portion of the project. A total of 10 miles of the line will be located underground to comply with the wishes of local landowners.

The construction timeline calls for five miles of underground cable to be trenched, buried and energized by the end of this year’s construction season. The other five miles of underground will be completed and energized in 2012. Along with those five miles of underground cable, the on-site construction crews expect to complete 19 miles of overhead line on the project this year.

“Our goal this year is to complete the line section from Norwood to Wilson Mesa,” Dille said. “Next year, in addition to building several substations along the line corridor, we expect to complete the final segment of the line from Wilson Mesa to the Sunshine Substation.”

Tri-State has contracted with Great Southwestern Construction Co. for the overhead line construction of the line and General Cable/Silex Co. for the underground line construction work.

The new power path is vital to serving increasing loads in the Telluride and nearby southwestern Colorado communities served by Tri-State member co-op San Miguel Power Association (Nucla, Colo.). It will replace a 69-kilovolt line that was originally constructed in 1948 and is at the end of its useful life.

Solar Farm in San Miguel Power’s Future

Tri-State member cooperative, San Miguel Power Association, Inc. has entered into an agreement with SunEdison to develop a two megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant in Norwood, Colo. The facility will be the first large scale solar power generation plant in the co-op’s service territory.

“San Miguel Power is committed to providing our members with renewable energy options,” said SMPA general manager Kevin Ritter. “This project represents our goal to provide energy that is both local and renewable.”

The solar PV plant will be located on a 40 acre plot of land in western San Miguel County, southeast of Norwood, Colo. SunEdison anticipates breaking ground on the project in September 2010 with construction completed in December. If all goes as scheduled, it should be powering SMPA homes and businesses by January 2011.