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City Signs Contract for Sale of Hydroelectric Power

Revenue will offset city water utility customer costs over the next ten years

The City of Boulder signed a contract with the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association on May 21, 2018, for the sale of hydroelectric power generated at five of the city’s eight hydroelectric plants. 

The agreement, which is for ten years with an option to renew for another five years, will generate an estimated $500,000 per year in revenue. The revenues will offset water utility capital improvements and operating costs that would otherwise be paid by water customers through higher water rates.

The City of Boulder had previously sold hydroelectric power to Tri-State from the Boulder Canyon Hydroelectric plant. This agreement renews the contract for Boulder Canyon power and adds generation from four facilities: the Orodell, Sunshine, Maxwell and Kohler plants. 

“The city evaluated power sale options over the past several years and found that the Tri-State agreement would provide for higher projected revenues compared to other potential purchasers,” said Jeff Arthur, director of Public Works for Utilities. “Tri-State has been a great partner on the Boulder Canyon Hydro contract for the past five years, and we are excited to renew and add additional facilities to the contract.”

Tri-State is the not-for-profit, cooperative power supplier to 43 electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. In 2017, 30 percent of the energy consumed within the association came from renewable resources.

“The City of Boulder is a valuable partner in helping us deliver low-cost renewable energy resources to our membership,” said Brad Nebergall, Tri-State’s senior vice president, Energy Management. “We are pleased to be expanding our purchases of renewable energy from the city.”

Hydroelectric generation is the process of harnessing the energy generated during the downhill trip from water sources to the water distribution system, making Boulder an ideal location for this type of power generation. Annually, Boulder’s hydro program, made up of eight plants, generates approximately 37 million kilowatt hours of electricity, or enough to power 4,600 households and displace 20,400 tons of coal.

Published: June 26, 2018

Media Contacts:
Meghan Wilson, Public Works Communications, 303-441-4073
Gretchen King, Public Works Communications, 303-441-3005
Lee Boughey, Tri-State, 303-254-3555