Water may power more of Aspen area | VailDaily.com

Water may power more of Aspen area

Charles Agar
Aspen Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Pitkin County commissioners could make it easier to build small-scale hydroelectric plants on local rivers and streams.

Woody Creek resident Bruce Fabrizio hopes to put a small hydroelectric plant along Brush Creek near his home, but the current land-use code forbids any construction in delicate riverside areas. Fabrizio proposed a land-use code amendment that would allow for micro-hydroplants.

The amendment will come before the Pitkin County commissioners in coming weeks and, if approved, would open the door to other projects in the county, and could breathe life into the historic hydroelectric plant in Redstone, which provided electricity as early as 1901.

The hydroelectric plant in Redstone, about 30 miles south of Glenwood Springs, has been quiet for decades, but Redstone Historical Society members hope to restore it in stages to its former function.

Officials from the Redstone Historical Society hope to first restore the Victorian structure housing the 1901 plant, and hope to build a micro-hydroplant in the future.

“Right now, it’s pretty much in shambles,” said historical society board member Darrell Munsell, adding that the renovation is a “top priority.”

“That’s what Redstone really is about: A historic experience,” Munsell added.

And any renovation to the plant would turn the historic site into a visitors center and a “teaching laboratory” for tourists and visiting school children, he added.

Power from Redstone or any hydroelectric plant site can be sold at retail price to Holy Cross Electric, Pitkin County Commissioner Michael Owsley said.

But not every location is suitable for a hydroelectric plant, he said.

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