Commissioner Clifford Lucero, from the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners, was on hand at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Pagosa Springs Town Council, but in this instance he was acting as a representative of the Pagosa Area Geothermal Water and Power Authority (PAGWAPA).
County Administrator Bentley Henderson observed silently from the audience gallery.
Town Manager Greg Schulte introduced the topic by explaining that PAGWAPA was formed in April 2014 as a means of exploring the local geothermal resource, with an eye toward possibly using the resource for electrical power generation, or at least as a heat source for year-round greenhouses.
So far, PAGWAPA has received $4 million from the federal Department of Energy (DOE), $2 million from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Energy Impact Funds and $520,000 from the county and the town, combined.
The DOLA grant is considered by the DOE as matching funds for its grant, and vice versa. All of this money has been combined to pay for drilling exploratory, or thermal gradient (TG), wells as well as analyzing the data produced by the wells.