Colorado agency making allocations for small hydro development

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The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is hoping to create a "small hydropower roadmap" for the state's agriculture through its Advancing Colorado's Renewable Energy (ACRE) program.

ACRE, whose purpose is to "promote the feasibility and development of agricultural energy-related projects", has already helped fund a number of research and development projects for a number of renewable energy sources.

One emphasis this year, however, will be small hydropower.

"In 2013, CDA will focus ACRE resources in just a few energy themes, including small hydropower applications," said CDA Conservation Services division director Eric Lane. "We continue to explore new opportunities in renewable energy and energy efficiency within our agricultural community that will, in turn, help producers, the environment and the state as a whole."

CDA said the Applegate Group and Telluride Energy have already received ACRE grants totaling more than US$86,500 to "collect, aggregate and analyze market research data on the opportunities, costs, benefits and other barriers to the application and deployment of small hydropower technologies in agricultural operations throughout the state."

"The majority of hydropower in Colorado was installed prior to 1990 with very few installations in the last 20 years," Telluride Energy CEO Kurt Johnson said. "Understanding which small hydro opportunities have been developed and why some opportunities are not being developed is critical information for identifying barriers and recommending achievable projects."

The final report and recommendations are expected by the end of the year, after which CDA said it will use the data to focus ACRE resources on project development.

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