An energy farm in Summit County? |

An energy farm in Summit County?

Bob Berwyn
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

FRISCO, Colo. ” A newly formed group wants Summit County to take the lead on the path to a new energy economy.

Renewables In the Summit Environment (RISE) is exploring the idea of building a renewable energy farm in the vicinity of Old Dillon Reservoir, a small body of water located next to the large Dillon Reservoir, near Silverthorne. Although the plan is still in a very early stage, the facility could include an array of photovoltaic panels generating electricity from sunlight, wind turbines, and a hydroelectric component, using water pressure to turn power-producing turbines.

The group has met with the U.S. Forest Service to broach the idea, and has also applied for a state grant to do a feasibility study at the site.

Currently, Summit County, Silverthorne and Dillon are advancing a plan to enlarge Old Dillon Reservoir to increase water storage. Since that would entail significant construction at the site, the renewable energy group thinks it could be a good time to look at developing some energy infrastructure at the same time.

The location offers the potential for several sources of renewable energy, all in the same area. Gaining approval for the energy farm would be a separate process from the ongoing studies on the reservoir approval. But some of the design elements could be linked if the timing works out, said Don Sather, a long-time local renewable energy advocate.

As a first step, the group would like to get some experts on board to help with the feasibility study. The proposal could mesh well with a federal initiative that encourages federal land managers to explore the potential for renewable energy on federal lands, Sather said.

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