Recovery Act Funds Reined In

Pagosa Verde received an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) novation of $3,889,705 from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2014. The designated purpose of the funds is to explore for geothermal resource hot enough and accessible enough to make electricity. A novation means that the funds had been awarded to another geothermal exploration company, but that company’s exploration did not meet the high expectations of the DOE. Pagosa Verde has successfully drilled three thermal gradient wells and may have time to drill two more. Pagosa Verde’s timeline to spend the funds for geothermal research is shortened, but our relationship with the Department of Energy remains strong.

ARRA stimulated the United States economy through federal spending that started in 2009. New energy projects were among the intended uses of the $787 billion that was granted to businesses by various federal departments. In 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury instructed the DOE and other departments to close out all Recovery Act billing by June 30.

In order to benefit Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County, Pagosa Verde, the town, and the county formed a public Pagosa Area Geothermal Water and Power Authority (PAGWPA) and then a private Pagosa Waters LLC. The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) granted to PAGWPA $1,986,000 to match the federal monies and stimulate geothermal development. A government entity cannot conduct business, but PAGWPA oversees Pagosa Waters and holds the private business accountable for spending the DOLA funds appropriately. Geothermal development in Archuleta County and other southwest Colorado locations continues, despite the shortened timeline to use the Recovery Act monies. The following timeline explains the evolution of the Pagosa Waters project.