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Discussions on future of geothermal heating system in Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Pagosa Springs, Colorado/ U.S. (source: flickr/ EmmaNoProblema.com)
Alexander Richter 30 Jul 2020

With upgrades required to maintain the output of Pagosa Springs geothermal heating system, discussions are going on possible technical upgrades but also expansion opportunities.

Little is talked about various geothermal district heating systems in the United States, such as the one in Klamath Falls, Oregon and Pagosa Springs in Colorado.

The future of the geothermal system in Pagosa Springs has recently being discussed in a town council meeting.

“The town of Pagosa Springs has owned and operated a geothermal heating system since December 1982 to provide geothermal heating during the fall, winter and spring to customers in this small mountain town.”, so the city on its website. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and local funds, the system has today 32 customers with expansions seriously being looked at.

“The geothermal aquifer under the town provides mineral-rich, hot water to three hot spring resort and spa facilities in downtown Pagosa Springs – The Springs Resort & Spa, Healing Waters Resort, and The Overlook Hot Springs and Spa. Additionally, the town has fashioned several ‘natural’ pools along the San Juan River Walk in downtown that are free to the public and are most easily accessible when the river is low in the late summer and early fall months.

This system heats many downtown businesses, keeps sidewalks clear of snow during the winter, and has been tapped for heat in the brewing process by Riff Raff Brewing Company.”, so the tourism office of Pagosa Springs.

In a recent town council meeting, so Pagosa Springs Sun, a report was discussed that looked into the current conditions, capacity and the opportunity for expansions. Just with better piping the efficiency and heat output of the system could be increased.

Another interesting discussion centers around the heating period of the system of October to April and the opportunity to use the system for cooling during the summer time using river water.

With the current capacity not many more customers could be added, despite the school district wanting to connect the local high school to geothermal heat. Smaller add ons might though be able. The heat output would even be sufficient for power generation. This could be done with a small unit, that would though face a long pay back period.

Overall it seems a discussion is to be had with regards to updating the system, which might otherwise loose capacity gradually.

Source: Pagosa Springs Sun