The Robert V. Trout hydropower plant, which started generating power in mid-May, harnesses pressure created by existing releases from the outlet tower at the south end of Carter Lake, a Colorado-Big Thompson Project reservoir. The facility includes two 1300kW turbines and connections to the Carter Lake outlet and the St. Vrain Supply Canal.

It is expected to produce 7 to 10MkWh of clean energy a year sold by the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association.

“Although the industry classifies this hydro project as small, it’s a really big step for Northern Water. We’re taking energy in the form of pressure that was already there and turning it into marketable power that expands Poudre Valley REA’s green energy portfolio,” said Carl Brouwer, project manager for Northern Water.

The $6M project received a $2M low-interest loan through the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, and Northern Water’s new hydropower enterprise fund is managing a loan for the rest. The project’s projected revenue, which will repay construction costs and cover future upgrades, is about $600,000 a year.

The project was officially dedicated on 31 May at a ceremony featuring Anne Castle, assistant secretary for water and science for the US Department of the Interior, and speakers from several organizations involved in the project.