OURAY COUNTY Hydropower online at Ridgway dam
The hydropower station (tan building in center of photograph) houses both generators. A penstock, or pressurized water pipe, draws water from the main outflow (left of the hydropower station) to the generation station. From the hydropower station, the electricity first goes to the substation (foreground, right) before entering the grid at the interconnection switch yard (background, right).
Plaindealer photo by Bill Tiedje
By Bill Tiedje
Ridgway dam is now one of only three percent of dams in the U.S. that produce clean, renewable energy using hydropower.
The dam's generation facility, operated by Tri-County Water Conservancy District, began regularly producing electricity for the region this spring.
Electricity created from the hydropower project will be sold to Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (TSGTA), delivering power to homes in Ouray County as well as to other Western Slope communities, including Delta and Montrose.
The city of Aspen will also purchase a significant portion of the electricity through the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN).
"We're producing local power, and it is going to generate local consumers," Mike Berry, general manager of TCWCD, said.