Geothermal exploration project continues


The Pagosa Area Geothermal Water and Power Authority (PAGWAPA) made two decisions at its meeting Monday night concerning how to proceed with Pagosa Verde’s geothermal exploration project.

The DOLA grant

County Administrator Bentley Henderson began the meeting by outlining three things that should be changed in the agreement PAGWAPA signed with the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) when it accepted a $2 million grant for the project.

First, the deadline needs to be extended.

As it stands now, there is approximately $1 million in unspent DOLA funds still available for the project, but that money needs to be spent before May 2016. With the beginning of winter, and the expectation that El Niño will result in an exceptionally severe winter, no further work is planned for the project until at least April.

Second, the scope of the project needs to be changed.

Originally, the plan was to use the DOLA money — in conjunction with a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) — to drill a number of shallow, thermal gradient (TG) wells. Data from these wells would then be used to pinpoint the ideal location for a deeper confirmation well that could be flow tested to verify the extent and efficacy of the geothermal resource.

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