New hydropower project announced for Utah

Published: Tuesday, May 10 2011 12:25 p.m. MDT

Anne Castle, the Department of the Interior's assistant secretary for water and science, hosts a media event Tuesday, May 10, 2011, at Utah State University Botanical Center in Kaysville announcing a decision by the Department of the Interior related to the development of hydropower on Central Utah Project facilities.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

KAYSVILLE — Touting the fusion of clean energy and conservation ideals, the federal government on Tuesday announced plans for a new Utah hydropower plant in Spanish Fork Canyon.

It is the third such project of its kind in the country under a new push by the Department of Interior. The development at the Central Utah Project's Spanish Fork flow control facility would tap the money of private investors to accelerate the installation of an eight megawatt facility.

Anne Castle, the DOI's assistant secretary for water and science, announced plans for the development against the backdrop of the wetlands at Utah State University's Botanical Gardens in Kaysville.

Castle pointed to a Bureau of Reclamation assessment released just over a month ago that detailed 70 BOR water projects in the West ideally suited for hydropower development. Among them is the Utah Lake System of the Central Utah Project, which Castle said has the potential for being a bedrock for future hydro development in Utah.

The Spanish Fork flow control facility would use 145,000 acre feet of water, which is conveyed through tunnels and pipes from Strawberry Reservoir down Spanish Fork Canyon to generate 23,000 megawatt hours on a yearly basis and provide new jobs in the interim. The hydropower turbines would be built at the mouth of Diamond Canyon.

Two similar projects have been announced in the Pueblo area of Colorado, Castle said, with more slated to be pursued in the coming months.

The government will publish a "notice of intent" in the federal register this week, paving the way for private development companies to submit proposals. A review team will then spend about five months determining the best candidate, with the selection anticipated to be made by Oct. 14, Castle said.

"We are rolling," on this, she said, adding that she hopes it will be the first of many for the Central Utah Project.

Reed Murray, CUP's program director, said the new hydropower facility is similar to an existing one on the Jordanelle, which was finished three years ago and generates power purchased by Heber Light & Power. That project took a total of eight years to complete, Murray said, but he is optimistic that private development will get this one on track faster and completed under five years.

Email: amyjoi@desnews.com

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