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Agricultural Hydropower Projects

A Telluride Hydroelectric Advocacy Organization Announced a $1.8 Million Grant Awarded to the Colorado Department of Agriculture by the United States Department of Agriculture to Support the Development of Agricultural Hydropower Projects in the State

The Colorado Small Hydro Association, based in Telluride, said the grant will be important in stemming energy costs for area farmers.

“Water is vital to Colorado’s agricultural community; by making small hydropower accessible to our producers we are helping them become more self-sufficient and protect their bottom line while creating more efficiency in their water usage,” said CDA Conservation Services Director Eric Lane in a press release.

According to COSHA, the new hydro projects won’t result in any new dams or water diversions, but will instead rely on existing untapped water pressure. The COSHA report also said Colorado farmers spend an average of $33,000 each year on electricity, mostly to power irrigation pumps. A 2013 analysis by the Colorado Energy Office found that farmers in Colorado report energy expenses around seven percent of total operating costs.

Through the newly established Regional Conservation Partnership Program, the USDA is investing $370 million in the implementation of conservation projects in all 50 states.

“It’s good news that the 3rd District will receive needed resources under the RCPP that were requested by a broad coalition of regional stakeholders,” U.S. Congressman Scott Tipton said in a press release. “The stakeholders include water districts, local governments, conservationists, agriculture producers and others, who stand ready to put these resources to work on projects that will create clean, renewable hydropower, help ensure sustained agriculture production and limit the impacts of severe drought in the Colorado River Basin.”

Tipton and U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet requested the funds for Colorado conservation projects.

Source: Telluride Daily Planet

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