Governor’s Energy Office to host geothermal workshop | AspenTimes.com

Governor’s Energy Office to host geothermal workshop

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

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GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Local alternative energy advocates are hoping that an upcoming workshop on geothermal energy will stimulate greater interest in what many say is an abundant local energy source.

The free workshop, which is sponsored by the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, is scheduled for Sept. 8 at the Glenwood Springs Community Center, 100 Wulfsohn Road, from 2:45-6:30 p.m.

“It’s an educational event for the community,” said Joani Matranga of Carbondale, who is the GEO’s Western Slope representative. “The hope is that the community will think about how they should take some steps forward in terms of geothermal.”

The GEO has held similar informational workshops in other parts of the state with geothermal resources, such as the San Luis Valley, Salida and the Raton Basin, and Matranga said that as a result the GEO has received grant applications from some of those areas to further explore the issue.

“Most of the Colorado hot springs communities are now considering ways to expand geothermal uses to reduce their fuel use, long-term costs and impacts,” wrote John Gitchell of Sustainable Business Solutions in Eagle.

Matranga conceded that geothermal heating, cooling and electric generation systems are “definitely more difficult to implement” than other alternative energy technologies, such as solar or wind generators.

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But in Glenwood Springs, according to City Council member Russ Arensman, a member of the council’s geothermal task force, a recent study showed it could be done.

The 2009 study, by Dr. John Lund of the Oregon Institute of Technology, “painted a pretty convincing case for geothermal energy in Glenwood Springs,” indicating it is “very feasible to create a geothermal district heating program” to provide heat to whole sections of town.

The Lund study also indicated that city residents could set up small-scale geothermal systems, based on “ground-source pumps” that bring geothermal heat up from under the ground.

Arensman noted that two facilities in town have turned to geothermal technology for their heat. The Midland Center commercial complex along Midland Road West has “a couple of years” of experience with its plant, he said, and the Colorado Mountain College campus in Spring Valley currently is building a large-scale geothermal heating plant for its campus buildings.

The workshop will feature talks by Matranga, Francisco Flores, also of the GEO; Paul Morgan with the Colorado Geological Survey; geologist Mike Galloway of ERO Resources; and Kevin G. Rein, an engineer with the Colorado Division of Water Resources.

To learn more about Glenwood Springs’ potential for geothermal, the city has posted the Lund report on its website, http://www.cogs.us.