Aspen geothermal project delayed |

Aspen geothermal project delayed

Staff reportThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – The city of Aspen had hired a California company to drill a test well for geothermal energy during the current offseason, but the project has been pushed back to the fall.In November and December, Dan’s Water Well & Pump Service drilled to 1,000 feet in the Prockter Open Space parking lot across from Herron Park. The test was unsuccessful as the drillers were unable to reach water. The city then hired Dan’s to do another test of as much as 1,500 feet starting in late April. The timeline has changed, and now the work will begin in late September or early October, said city spokeswoman Mitzi Rapkin.”As the city was negotiating with the contractor, they realized they couldn’t get here from California, do the work and get out of here in time (for the summer tourism season),” Rapkin said.She said the city wanted to ensure that the drilling operation would be finished by Memorial Day, when residents near the work site along Neale Avenue typically start to rent their homes to tourists during the summer season.The drill site will involve a 3,500-square-foot surface operation and a 1-foot-wide hole, similar to the one conducted last fall. Neighbors have been notified of the postponement, Rapkin said.A letter from Utilities Director David Hornbacher to the Aspen City Council says that the timing of the project, expected to take about a month, will be better in the fall.”The contractor we worked with last fall couldn’t commit to our schedule and timing, and we did not want to risk bringing them in only to find they couldn’t finish the work (by Memorial Day),” he wrote. “Our priorities are to honor the neighbors and the busy tourist season as well as producing quality, efficient work.”The city hopes to find water that is 100 degrees or hotter, temperatures necessary to support a possible city-operated renewable-energy system to heat local buildings. The fall test is expected to take about 30 days.

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