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Utilities board approves Colorado's proposed 7-MW Pueblo Dam hydropower plant

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The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District's 7-MW Pueblo Dam hydropower project has just one more regulatory hurdle to clear after receiving approval from the Colorado Springs Utilities board.

Minutes from the board's meeting held yesterday show half of Pueblo Dam's output will be sold to Fort Collins with a military sales tariff. The 10-year arrangement would allow the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy Disctrict (SECWD) to provide electricity to Fort Collins via a power purchase agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities, supporting the military's "Net Zero" renewable goals. Energy sold to Fort Collins by Colorado Springs Utilities will be provided at the same rate paid by the utility to SECWD.

The other half of Pueblo Dam's output will be sold to Fountain, Colo., for distribution via its own utilities network until the military's contract runs out. At that point, Fountain is under contract to purchase 100% of the plant's output for the subsequent 10 years.

The Colorado Springs city council will vote to approve both the hydroelectric plant and military tariff on August 8.

If approved, the project would be located at the existing U.S. Bureau of Reclamation-owned Pueblo Dam, using downstream outlet to supply water to a new $19.7 million powerhouse.

SECWD officials said construction could begin as soon as September if approved, with completion scheduled in May of next year.

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