GCEA has been investigating the potential for developing a hydropower project at the existing Taylor Reservoir Dam. In 2009, GCEA partnered with the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (UGRWCD) and the Uncompaghre Valley Water Users Association (UVWUA) to apply for a grant from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority. The partners provided $15,000 matching funds and hired URS to conduct a preliminary general feasibility study.
While this "reconnaissance-level investigation" indicated that adding hydropower at the existing dam would be feasible from a technical and economic perspective, it recommended a more comprehensive feasibility investigation to refine the analysis.
In 2011, GCEA received a technical assistance grant from the Governor's Energy Office. This study led the GCEA Board of Directors to move forward with further investigations.
In 2013-2014, GCEA received a renewable system feasibility study through the USDA. GCEA partnered with the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association (UVWUA) on the project and they also contributed towards the feasibility study. GCEA hired NEI Electric Power Engineering, Inc. to conduct an Electrical Interconnection and System Impact study.
The NEI analysis concluded that a relatively small plant could be built with minimal changes to the distribution system or a larger plant could be constructed to take advantage of the available water resource but would require extensive power system upgrades.
Further studies will be needed to determine the economic feasibility based on plant size, civil and structural engineering, permitting and cost-sharing with the project owners.