Decades before the terms “clean energy” and “carbon footprint” were ever imagined, the Colorado-Big Thompson Project’s hydroelectric power system was producing millions of watts of electric power without the need for fossil fuels.
Plants Generate 770 Million Kilowatt Hours of Power
The seven C-BT Project power plants generate an average of 770 million kilowatt hours per year; 70 million kilowatt hours are used by C-BT Project pumps and 700 million kilowatt hours are sold to customers in Colorado, Eastern Wyoming and Western Nebraska.
The C-BT Project power sold to customers is enough to power approximately 68,000 homes for a year.
Because power is generated by water flowing through the power plants’ turbines, there is virtually no water or air pollution. The C-BT water is then distributed to water users throughout Northeastern Colorado.
If this power was generated by power plants using fossil fuels, there would be a significant environmental impact.
1.52 Billion Pounds of Carbon Dioxide
The C-BT Project’s 770-million-kilowatt-hour annual hydropower production offsets the equivalent of 1.52 billion pounds of carbon dioxide produced by coal-fired power plants each year (2000 U.S. Department of Energy statistics).
Unlike other energy sources, hydropower typically does not require mining, shipping and other carbon-producing steps.
Six East Slope Plants
The C-BT Project's six East Slope hydroelectric power plants run on the force (“head") of water descending 2,900 vertical feet from Grand Lake on the West Slope, through the Adams Tunnel, to the Front Range. The East Slope power system includes:
- Mary’s Lake Power Plant and Mary’s Lake south of Estes Park
- Estes Power Plant and Lake Estes in Estes Park
- Pole Hill Power Plant and Pinewood Reservoir southwest of Loveland
- Flatiron Power Plant and Flatiron Reservoir southwest of Loveland
- Big Thompson Power Plant on the Big Thompson River west of Loveland
- Robert V. Trout Hydropower Plant at Carter Lake west of Berthoud
The Mary’s Lake Power Plant is one of six East Slope
hydroelectric power plants in the Colorado-Big Thompson Project.
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West Slope Plant
The sole West Slope hydroelectric power plant in the system, the Green Mountain Power Plant, is located at the base of Green Mountain Dam at Green Mountain Reservoir
. It was the first C-BT Project plant to produce power – in May 1943.