Final Environmental Assessment
The proposed action is to permit hydropower development on a portion of the South Canal in Montrose County, Colorado. The South Canal is a major feature of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Uncompahgre Irrigation Project and the federal action would be issuance of a "Lease of Power Privilege" allowing a non-federal party to develop the hydropower resource. The LOPP would allow use of the South Canal to generate electricity. The Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association and the Delta-Montrose Electric Association have applied for the LOPP at the South Canal.
A LOPP is needed to develop hydropower along the South Canal. Current federal policy encourages non-federal development of environmentally sustainable hydropower potential on federal water resource projects. The LOPP would ensure that the development of hydropower would be implemented consistent with established authorities, purposes, and water operation plans of the Uncompahgre Project. The purpose of the South Canal Hydropower Project is to provide a clean, renewable energy source that is locally controlled. The electricity generated by the Project would provide the UVWUA and DMEA a source of revenue that can be used to defray annual operating expenses. It would assist in funding the maintenance and improvement of the Uncompahgre Project. The project also may provide DMEA an opportunity to help diversify its generating portfolio and to meet legislatively-mandated requirements for renewable energy sources.
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