Colorado awards small hydro financing, calls for applications for further grants

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The Colorado Department of Agriculture is calling for applications to fund small hydropower through the state's Advancing Colorado's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ACRE3) program.

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) via the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which, alongside ACRE3, will provide up to $3.25 million for "financial and technical assistance to help farmers upgrade their irrigation systems to save water and energy."

The RCPP will award funding for six more hydroelectric projects this year, with applications due to the Colorado Department of Agriculture by May 13. For full details, visit CDA's website here.

The agency also announced the awarding of two ACRE3 grants last week, including a $9,568 grant to Park Family Farm in Kersey to install a 10 kW project through a net metering agreement with the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, and $11,400 to Susan Raymond in Hotchkiss for an 8 kW system in association with the Delta-Montrose Electric Association.

Energy generated by the Park Family system will power two center-pivot irrigation systems on 125 acres of farmland, while the Raymond project will run three center-pivots and provide power for an on-site veterinary clinic.

CDA said it anticipates the installation of 30 small hydropower systems across the state within the next three years.

"The program addresses water quantity, water quality and energy resource concerns by helping farmers upgrade outdated and labor intensive flood irrigation systems to more efficient pressurized irrigation systems using hydropower, or retrofit existing sprinkler systems with a hydropower component," agency energy specialist Sam Anderson said.

The state has been working for several years to streamline the legislative approvals needed to develop small hydro projects, which, according to the Colorado Small Hydropower Association (COSHA) and CDA, could total more than 130 MW.

For more small hydropower news, visit here.

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