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By Muriel Eason
Special to The SUN
Jerry Smith, of Pagosa Verde, LLC will join the monthly public meeting of the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (CDC), Monday, April 1, at 5:30 p.m. at the Quality Resort to speak about his proposal for a geothermal power plant in Pagosa Springs.
The Town of Pagosa Springs and much of Archuleta County sit on one of the largest geothermal aquifers in Colorado. Currently, the only use of this resource has been to provide water for soaking facilities and for heating a few buildings downtown.
The local geothermal potential has been studied for many years. A 1980 study suggested there is 200 degree water at a depth of 2,000 feet, but at that time geothermal power generation technology required 300-plus degree water.
Smith is one of the champions actively advancing geothermal research in the Pagosa Springs area. Smith said that geothermal heat technology has improved greatly over the years. In 2007, 165-degree water was successfully used to make power.
Smith has put together a proposal to further explore using the geothermal resource to generate local, sustainable power. His proposal is to start small and prove the concept with a 3-4 megawatt power plant — about 1/6 of the total power use in Archuleta County. The hot water would be pumped up from the aquifer, passed through a heat-transfer process, then pumped back into the aquifer to avoid depleting the source. Best of all, the plant itself would be barely visible, so it does not detract from our beautiful landscape.
Attend the meeting to learn more about the geothermal power plant and what it means for jobs in Pagosa. Smith’s presentation will be followed by a community discussion and CDC project updates. The CDC strives to educate and encourage public dialogue. After the meeting, a casual reception will be held to allow the PSCDC board, members of the business community and interested citizens to mix and mingle.