Aspen/ Colorado looking into larger scale district heating

Alexander Richter 31 Aug 2009

Aspen in Colorado is looking into utilizing geothermal energy for a larger scale district heating project.

Reported locally, Aspen in Colorado is looking into utilizing geothermal energy for a larger scale district heating project.

With an initial amount set aside for initial researc, the City Council is also applying for a federal grant with the Department of Energy to help pay for the geothermal project, which is estimated to cost US$ 3.5 million.

“The test drilling was scheduled to be done this year but because of the high cost of doing it, city officials decided to hold off and try to get federal money. If the grant is awarded, the city could begin drilling early next year.

“Hopefully, if we get the money we can poke a hole in the ground this spring,” Hines said.

“The goal is to find enough geothermal energy to heat 1 million square feet, the equivalent of 10 large hotels. Doing so would cut Aspen’s natural gas needs by about 15 percent, according to city officials.

A geothermal heat district could potentially provide renewable heating and cooling to businesses within a 4-square mile radius of downtown Aspen.”

City officials say the geothermal project will allow Aspen to be marketed as a “green destination” through the use of renewable energy for heating and cooling as a way to reduce the carbon footprint of hotel and guest services. It’s estimated that more than 13,500 tons of carbon dioxide will be reduced annually as a result of the geothermal project.

The city’s water rights application makes Aspen the first municipality to apply under the new Colorado Geothermal Act.

The geothermal heat would work by taking the steam and hot water produced in the earth’s core and using it to heat a glycol-based solution that circulates through buildings to heat them. Customers would pay according to the thermal units of energy used as the heated liquid goes by their building. Electricity would be needed to move the water.

City officials in the past have said they want to find a well or combination of wells that will produce 5,000 gallons per minute of 140-degree water (around 60 centigrades).”

Source: Aspen Times