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Meetings to Explore Southeast Wyoming Small Hydropower Possibilities

January 28, 2015

Opportunities for agricultural producers, irrigation districts and other water users to develop small hydropower at existing water infrastructures will be covered in a Torrington roundtable and Wheatland workshop Tuesday, Feb. 17.

The Wyoming Business Council and State Energy Office partnered with University of Wyoming Extension and the UW School of Energy Resources to develop the Wyoming Small Hydropower Handbook, which is the foundation of the discussion, said Milt Geiger, UW Extension energy coordinator.

Locations and times are:

Torrington -- 10 a.m., Platte Valley Bank Community Room, 2201 Main St. Pastries and coffee will be served.

Wheatland -- 6 p.m., First State Bank Community Room, 1405 16th St. Coffee and dessert will be provided.

Geiger and Skylor Wade, the handbook’s lead author, will summarize the development process and typical characteristics of a feasible development opportunity.

“Small hydropower offers water users the opportunity to make our Wyoming waters work even harder, producing electricity while serving the needs of irrigators and municipalities,” Geiger says.

The roundtable and presentation highlight the where, what and how of the evaluation process, including Wyoming case studies, he says. Changes that simplify the licensing and permitting processes will be addressed. Incentives and the financing process also will receive attention.

“Most irrigation drops or pipelines will not be economically feasible to develop,” Geiger says. “We want to help water users make an informed decision whether to proceed -- or to purposefully choose inaction.”

Wade is an engineer with Wenck Associates Inc.

“Just like growing any crop, finding a profitable market for electricity from small hydropower is essential,” he says. “If you cannot produce it at a profit, it is best to simply watch the water flow by.”

Goshen County Extension Educator Caleb Carter will host the events.

“We hope irrigators and other water users come with their questions and specific circumstances, allowing for a better understanding of where and when development is feasible,” Carter says.

Additional renewable energy information, including small hydropower, is available from UW’s Efficient and Renewable Energy website,

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