Cities to supply used water to power plant

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BOULDER, Colo. (AP) Boulder, Greeley and Longmont are expected to lease water already used once by their customers to a California-based power company that plans to build a gas- and steam-powered electricity plant north of Denver.

Boulder already has made plans to begin sending Calpine Corp. three-quarters of a million gallons of water a day 219 million gallons a year in the South Platte River in 2004, the year the plant is expected to start generating electricity for Xcel Energy.

Greeley and Longmont also are expected to take part in the deal, which would send a total of 955 million gallons a year to the plant, planned near the Weld County town of Hudson.

Calpine Corp., based in San Jose, Calif., produces electricity at natural gas and geothermal power plants it owns in 27 states and in Canada.

It would use its leased water for cooling and steam generation. Last month, the Boulder City Council authorized a pair of 20-year lease agreements with Calpine allowing the company to use city-owned water that is mainly unused Windy Gap drought-protection reserves.

During the first year, the company will pay $252,000. The price increases after that annually to match inflation, said Boulder city water resources manager Carol Ellinghouse.

The water sent downstream to Calpine will first be collected in Boulder Reservoir, then used by Boulder residents. After being treated and released back into Boulder Creek, the water would be earmarked for diversion from the South Platte River near the Calpine plant, Ellinghouse said.

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