Clearing a path to utilizing renewable energy from water on a small scale |

Clearing a path to utilizing renewable energy from water on a small scale

Next report date for proposed Trout Creek Reservoir is June 24.

Peabody Energy, owner of the Twentymile Coal Mine in Routt County, is in the middle of the federal planning process to build a new reservoir on Routt Creek south of Milner that would include a small hydroelectric power plant. The decision to build the hydro plant means that Peabody is going through the approval process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Peabody is slated to submit an Initial Study Report to FERC on June 11, and a meeting regarding the report has been scheduled for June 24 in the 4 Main Conference Room at URS Corp., 8181 E. Tufts Ave., in Denver. The time of the meeting was not immediately available.

The proposed 392-acre reservoir would be located about 15 miles southwest of Steamboat and capture water from both Trout Creek and Middle Creek.

The reservoir, estimated in early 2013 to cost $16 million, is expected to store about 12,000 acre-feet of water, with rights to store 15,000 acre-feet. In comparison, Fish Creek Reservoir, which stores most of Steamboat’s drinking water, holds 4,167 acre-feet, and Stagecoach Reservoir stores 36,460 acre-feet.

Steamboat Today has reported recently that Peabody Energy has been exercising “capital discipline” this year.

The hydro plant would be about one-third the size of the one at Stagecoach Reservoir and produce enough electricity to power 125 homes, according to a Peabody official working on the project. He told the Routt County Board of Commissioners in October that Peabody added the hydro-power component to the dam to acknowledge Colorado’s alternative energy initiative.