Renewable energy for Los Alamos

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By The Staff

For years the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has been producing renewable energy from county-owned hydroelectric plants at El Vado and Abiquiu. 

“We never meant to keep it a secret,” said Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith, “but we’ve realized how few citizens are aware of these tremendous assets and the renewable power that they supply.” 

 The public is invited to join DPU board and staff leadership as they discuss the investment decision-making and foresight of the 1980s to build the two hydroelectric plants.

The meeting is on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1967 18th St.

“We operate the plants today in an atmosphere of renewed and intensified concern for sustainability; however, the DPU’s investments and actions in this area were well ahead of the mainstream, such that we’re experiencing the benefits today,” said Utilities Board Member and former Utilities Manager Christopher Ortega.

Last year, almost 30 percent of electricity delivered to Los Alamos was from renewable energy sources, including electricity generated from the two county-owned hydroelectric plants at Abiquiu and El Vado, the DPU reported.

Ortega, Arrowsmith and DPU staff member Michael Walters will give a presentation on the construction, funding and benefits of these facilities which were funded, in part, through utilities rates.

Arrowsmith said, “These facilities reflect the prudence and continuing fiscal responsibility of our board, county leadership  and the utilities team. We had our first rate increase in a15-year period late last year. During that time we continued paying down the debt on these hydroelectric plants while providing electricity at comparable cost to neighboring communities.

Now, we continue with the debt service – due to be completed in 2015 – and our rates remain comparable to the region’s rates.

The public is invited to attend, Friday at 7 p.m., 167 18th St.  For more information contact former utilities board member Lawry Mann at 662-4590.