KVNF Regional Newscast: May 25, 2022
Xcel Energy has proposed a plan to build a hydro power plant near Gateway in Western Colorado. To help reach the company’s renewable energy goals including going coal-free by 2050, Xcel would flood Unaweep Canyon behind a 75-foot dam creating an 88-acre reservoir. The 1.6 billion dollar hydro plant would move water between a reservoir on Bureau of Land Management land on top of the cliffs and a reservoir on private land on the valley floor. When the solar and wind energy ebbs, water would drop nearly 5,000 feet downhill in buried tunnels and feed turbines to create electricity. When wind and solar are strongest, powerful pumps would move the water back up to the top reservoir, ready to deliver another round of energy on demand. Colorado Sun reports pumped storage facilities act as a battery, delivering energy in the evening when solar and wind generation fades. Xcel Energy applied for a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allowing the company to more closely study the site for a power plant. Ideally, it would produce 800 megawatts of electricity per hour for 8 to 10 hours a night. That’s enough energy to power about 325,000 homes. Unsurprisingly, residents who live in Unaweep Canyon are against the flooding of their land and homes. Xcel doesn’t have other locations under consideration.
A domestic cat in San Miguel County tested positive for the plague last week. It is the first instance of the plague in domestic or wild animals there this year, with no cases impacting humans to-date. The infection occurred in Norwood. According to the County, no fleas were found during treatment. Plague has been present in Colorado since at least the 1940s and is most commonly spread in the summer months by rodents, such as prairie dogs, squirrels, rats or rabbits. Domestic animals can be infected with plague when the infection is transmitted from rodents. It can be transmitted by bites from infected fleas, touching infected animals, or inhaling droplets from the cough of an infected person or animal. It's rare for humans to contract the plague, but last year a 10-year old Colorado child died from the disease. Plague symptoms include swollen or tender lymph nodes, shortness of breath, pain in the abdomen or muscles, fever, chills, and fatigue. There is no vaccine, but it can be treated with antibiotics when caught early.
A controversial proposal to bring water from the San Luis Valley to Douglas County is now unlikely to become a reality. KUNC’s Alex Hager reports, county commissioners voted against using American Rescue Plan funds to build the pipeline.
Reporter Kate Redmond took a tour last week of the one million gallon tank for the domestic water supply in Paonia. The tank has been offline for years, but now the Public Works Department is preparing it to run again.