No geothermal energy for Eagle County Justice Center |

No geothermal energy for Eagle County Justice Center

Chris Outcalt
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

EAGLE, Colo. ” Geothermal energy is not a viable option for the expansion of the Eagle County Justice Center, officials have concluded.

County Construction Manager Rick Ullom told Eagle County commissioners Monday it would cost about $2 million to set the facility up to use geothermal energy and that the county wouldn’t see a financial benefit for 41 years.

“I don’t think in this project it’s a good choice,” Ullom said.

“I couldn’t agree more,” Commissioner Peter Runyon said.

Geothermal energy is heat captured from below the ground that can be used to generate electricity or heat buildings.

The $2 million price tag includes drilling and generator upgrades that would be needed to process the energy. The switch to geothermal would save the county about $4,000 a month.

County Manager Bruce Baumgartner said the systems that would need to be installed to use the geothermal energy probably wouldn’t last 41 years.

Based on the latest budget estimate for the project, Ullom said he was optimistic the $24 million expansion could be completed under budget.

“We’re going to build this thing, and we’ll build it within budget,” Ullom said. “I think the county has a very low risk of going over budget on this.”

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