Hydroelectric developers present plan to county council
by Craig Bigler
contributing writer
Aug 21, 2008 | 539 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Grand County Council this week heard details of a proposal from Utah Independent Power, which wants to develop a hydroelectric pumped storage facility near Bull Canyon. According to Frank Mazzone, president of the company, the project would pump water from the Colorado River to a lower reservoir that would be constructed in Long Canyon or Day Canyon.

That water would be pumped up to a higher reservoir during the night when electricity is cheap, Mazzone said. During the day, when electricity is expensive, the water would be released back to the lower reservoir through turbine generators, making power that would be sold on the grid.

Mazzone, president of Utah Independent Power, said that he and vice-president Joseph Tegda have experience with multi-billion-dollar projects around the world. “We speak from a very experienced background,” Mazzone said.

Mazzone said the controversial power generation facility would be about one-third the size of Boulder Dam, and would be environmentally benign because the powerhouse and pump would be located underground, if geology permits.

The two reservoirs would cover about 380 acres. About 40 miles of transmission lines would be built to connect to the grid, he said. According to Mazzone, construction of the reservoirs would employ 2,200 workers for five years, resulting in about $150 million in take-home salaries and a total impact on the local economy of $400 million.

Grand County Council member Joette Langianese asked if Mazzone was aware that Grand County rejected a federal push to designate an alternative corridor for energy transmission through the county.

“BLM has given us the word they have set aside the lands for this use,” Mazzone said.

Council member Audrey Graham asked for the addresses of websites where people can learn about the projects that Mazzone and Tegda have worked on.

“We can mitigate the problems,” Mazzone answered. When further pressed, he said there are no such websites.

Council chairman Gene Ciarus asked Mazzone and Tegda to come back for a meeting with the public once they have gone through the gamut of involved federal and state agencies, including, in particular, the state School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, which owns some of the land where the proposed project would be located.

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