From the Cortez Journal (Reid Wright):
The aim of the facility is to utilize energy from a McPhee Reservoir pipeline from which Cortez draws its drinking water to be sold to local power companies.
It is estimated that there are up to 5,000 megawatts of untapped small-scale electricity in the U.S., Nickerson said.
The Cortez facility has been operational since May 1. Workers are installing a filter to better harmonize the facility’s electricity with the public power grid, Nickerson said. In addition, dampening devices are being installed to muffle noise generated by the facility, which is located near the city water treatment plant off County Road N.
Although the project will not turn a profit for another 20 years, it is designed to last 100 years, Nickerson said. Water flows through the generator before entering the water treatment plant. The generator is lubricated monthly using food-grade vegetable oil to prevent drinking water contamination. The generator belt is checked annually, and the bearings are replaced every 10 years at a cost of $100,000.
“We designed this for very little maintenance,” [Cortez Public Works Director Jack Nickerson] said…
The facility is monitored remotely from the water treatment plant, where city workers are already on duty.