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San Diego public agency to build 500 MW-pumped storage facility

San Diego public agency to build 500 MW-pumped storage facility
Photo taken from the San Diego County Water Authority

San Diego County Water Authority, a wholesale supplier of water in the region, is planning to construct a 500 megawatt-hydroelectric project at the San Vicente Reservoir.

The proposed hydroelectric project is a pumped storage facility that could power 325,000 homes during peak-demand periods. The Water Authority, in cooperation with the city of San Diego, is presently preparing to assess the potential of the hydroelectric project at the San Vicente Reservoir.

Currently, the Water Authority, along with the city, has issued a request for proposals seeking firms that could evaluate the economic and financial requirements of a pumped storage facility at the San Vicente Reservoir. Evaluation for the project will include an analysis of the power market, potential sites for an upper reservoir, regional power needs, and associated construction and operating costs.

The initial assessment for the project is estimated to cost around $150,000, and is projected to be completed spring of 2014. Construction of the hydroelectric facility is expected to take at least five years as it involves constructing a small reservoir in the hills of the reservoir as well as other facilities.

The hydroelectric facility was planned to boost the region’s local energy supply following the permanent retirement of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

“Give the closure of the San Onofre plant, it makes sense for us to determine whether we can leverage our experience with hydroelectric power to help meet the region’s need for clean energy,” said the Water Authority’s Deputy General Manager Frank Belock.

“The concept of pumped storage at San Vicente has been on our radar for years and is a natural next step now that the San Vicente Dam Raise project is almost complete. An independent economic review will help the Board of Directors determine whether we should make it a priority,” he added.

Southern California Edison announced that their 2,200 MW San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station would be permanently retired last June 7. – EcoSeed Staff

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