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New power plant under construction

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 7:12 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Orchard Mesa Irrigation District held a ceremony for the new power plant constructed.

The Grand Valley Power Plant was switched off in today’s groundbreaking ceremony as construction began on the new hydroelectric Vinelands Power Plant.

Max Schmidt, the manager of Orchard Mesa Irrigation District, says it was time to pull the plug.

“We took operation of the old power plant, and it’s 90 years old built in 1932, and it’s completely worn out. We are going to shut it down today, hopefully for the last time,” said Schmidt.

This new plant will allow for more power to be produced at the same flow rates.

“I can rebuild it for 3.5 megawatt, but if I build a brand new power plant for 4.54 megawatts. It will produce an extra four megawatts. Three megawatts is enough to power to the city of Palisade,” said Schmidt.

We are told the construction of a new plant is a win-win situation for the community.

“Number one is it provides additional water for recreation from the start Colorado river clear down to Lake Powell. Secondly, it provides clean energy generation, which we all know is a necessary thing. Third, it provides water for the 50-mile reach,” said Rob Talbott, the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District president.

After the water runs through the power plant, we are told it will return to the Colorado River.

The project has been in the works for about five years.

“We had to secure funding for the funding. This project is almost 65-70 percent funded by grants. Secondly, we were working with various agencies. We had to get the ability to sell the electricity to a buyer who’s willing to pay an adequate fee for the electricity we needed to work with the bureau of reclamation,” said Talbott.

Sorenson Engineering will construct the Vinelands Power Plant, and energy will be used by Holy Cross Energy.

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