USDA Rural Development program chips in $20,000 for turbine.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program has provided a $20,000 grant to help the San Juan County Historical Society develop a small, 8-kilowatt hydroelectric power facility adjacent to the Mayflower Mill. The check presentation was Thursday, Nov. 12, at the historical society archive building. From left are Duane Dale, area specialist with the USDA Cortez office, Kurt Johnson, with Telluride Energy, San Juan County Historical Society board members Bev Rich, Fritz Klinke and George Chapman, and Jim Isgar, state director for the USDA.
Telluride Energy has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the USDA Rural Development Renewable Energy for America Program to install an 8-kilowatt micro-hydro turbine at the Mayflower Mill near Silverton.
The San Juan County Historical Society is in the process of developing the small power plant.
“I am excited that USDA Rural Development can play a part in this project,” said Jim Isgar, USDA Colorado State director. “Through the REAP program, loan guarantees and grants can be used for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies and energy audits.”
The project will utilize the currently unused energy available in the existing water supply pipeline which flows down Arrastra Gulch to supply water to the Mayflower Mill.
“Once completed, the project will generate local clean energy, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 80,000 pounds annually and enhancing fire protection for a National Historic Landmark,” said Kurt Johnson of Telluride Energy.
The Mayflower Mill, located about two miles east of Silverton, was built in 1929 and operated until 1991. After it was shut down, the Mayflower Mill was donated to the San Juan County Historical Society.
Today the Mill is open for public tours. Mill visitors learn how mill workers were able to extract gold, silver and base metals from the local hard rock ores.
“We’re finally getting back to using hydropower — a non-polluting energy source which was commonplace in the San Juan Mountains a hundred years ago,” said Beverly Rich, chairman of the San Juan County Historical Society.
But she noted the historical society needs additional funding to upgrade the water line which runs to the mill.
Telluride Energy is a renewable energy project developer which finances, builds, owns and operates commercial-scale renewable energy systems.