A Short Rope for Xcel and Pumped Storage – @BigPivots – Coyote Gulch


Unaweep Scenic Canyon. Photo credit: Allen Best/Big Pivots

Click the link to read the article on the Big Pivots (Allen Best) website:

Xcel Energy has requested permission to spend up to $15 million to investigate the feasibility of a pumped-storage hydroelectric project in Unaweep Canyon, south of Grand Junction.

No, members of the Colorado Public Utility Commission said at a June 10 meeting. You can get $1 million which can be recovered from customers, but no more.

Illustrated pumped hydro generation. Chart via The Mountain Town News

The company has filed a preliminary permit application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, putting it at more or less the same stage of the planning process as the Craig-Hayden projects. That is to say early.

“I just see that this project has huge environmental, financial and technological risks, Commissioner John Gavan said.

Eric Blank, the chairman of the commission, had said he would be willing to ask for $5 million as there appears to be a funding gap for developing ideas and before they can be solidified. “It’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem.”

Megan Gilman, the third commissioner, said she was inclined to reject Xcel’s proposal.

The canyon has enormous vertical relief. It is a canyon without a river, although some geologists have speculated that it was originally a route for the Colorado River.

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