Aspen eyes Shoshone hydro plant | AspenTimes.com

Aspen eyes Shoshone hydro plant

Charles AgarAspen, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times
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ASPEN The city of Aspen is in discussions with Xcel Energy executives about buying the Shoshone hydroelectric plant in Glenwood Canyon, two high-ranking officials confirmed Thursday. “We’re contacting Xcel. … We’re just gathering information,” said Aspen City Manager Steve Barwick. Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland said, “We’re looking at it. We have a hydro plant. We know how to manage and operate them.”

The city of Aspen operates two hydroelectric power plants – at Ruedi Reservoir and a smaller facility at Maroon Creek. There are also plans and funds in the budget to revamp a 19th century facility at the base of the Castle Creek Bridge, Barwick said.Barwick said acquiring the plant might “make sense for us and for other people in the region.” Also, additional power from the Shoshone plant would be “more than what we could conceivably use in the city of Aspen.”Ireland said talks between city and Xcel officials are in the preliminary stages, and stressed that there are no estimated prices or plans for operation of the plant.

For now, Xcel officials aren’t giving any indications they plan to sell.An Xcel spokesman said the Minneapolis-based company might be staying mum because it is publicly traded. Typically, a Wall Street company needs shareholder approval of its transactions before officials can talk about them publicly.”We do not have any plans to sell the Shoshone plant. It is actually one of our environmental plants. … And we are very committed to hydro as well as green, renewable power sources,” said Xcel spokesman Tom Henley. “Our full intent is to rebuild the plant and fully commission it.”

The Shoshone plant is offline after a break in a feeder pipe June 20 flooded the facility. Henley said Xcel crews will begin to assess damage July 16 and said the company plans to be back online as soon as possible.And while the break flooded the 98-year-old building with 10 feet of water and damaged the facility, Henley stressed that the historic structure is still sound.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is cagar@aspentimes.com


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