Free Flow Power affiliate works on 1,500 MW hydro project in Ohio

The developer of a 1,500-MW pumped storage hydro project in Ohio told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on March 28 that progress is being made on the project.

In April 2011, FERC issued a preliminary permit to South Run Pumped Storage LLC for the South Run Pump Storage Project. Young Energy Services LLC (YES), on behalf of South Run Pumped Storage LLC, on March 28 filed a fourth six-month progress report with the commission in connection with this project.

To assist in assessing the viability of this pumped storage project, it has prepared an internal updated cost estimate, the company said. “YES continues to perform evaluations of this Project in order to determine its economic feasibility,” it added.

YES said it has been in contact with four potential off takers and potential investors in this project as an effort to move the project forward to the licensing and development phases.

YES added that it has initiated the consultation process and has proceeded in development of a draft pre-application document (PAD). An initial PAD has been drafted, but not yet finalized. This draft PAD is aiding YES in an evaluation of this project and in discussions with interested parties.

The South Run Pumped Storage Project would be located on South Run near the city of Norton in Medina and Summit counties, Ohio. The proposed project – designed to pump water uphill when the power to run the pumps is cheap and available, then release it to flow downhill and generate power during peak demand periods – would consist of:

  • an excavated, diked, and asphalt-lined 255-acre upper reservoir having a maximum water surface area of about 195 acres and a total volume of 7,805 acre-feet;
  • a 7,760-acre-foot capacity underground lower reservoir, 2,200 feet below ground surface, created by previous limestone mining activities;
  • a diversion channel around the west and south sides of the upper reservoir with sufficient capacity to carry a 100-year flood flow of 1,170 cubic feet per second;
  • a 28-foot-diameter, 7,000-foot-long, concrete-lined power tunnel located 300 feet below the ground surface that extends from the upper reservoir to two 17.5-foot-diameter, 2,400-foot-long concrete-lined vertical shafts connecting the power tunnel with the underground powerhouse penstocks;
  • six 75-inch-diameter, 235-foot-long, steel-and concrete-lined penstocks;
  • an underground powerhouse containing six 250-MW reversible pump-turbines;
  • an underground transformer gallery; and
  • a three-mile-long, 345-kV overhead transmission line.

The estimated annual generation of the South Run Project would be between 1,300 and 2,000 gigawatt-hours, depending on certain utilization factors.

The application filed with FERC for this project shows the project company is affiliated with Free Flow Power Corp. of Gloucester, Mass. The Free Flow Power website shows that the company has a total of nine pumped storage projects in the works, including South Run. “Free Flow Power is pursuing pumped hydropower storage at several proposed sites east of the Mississippi River,” the website noted. “Pumped hydro is the most proven, cost-effective means of providing grid-scale storage to balance peak and off-peak demand and to address the intermittent nature of wind and solar generation. None of Free Flow Power’s proposed pumped hydropower storage projects would involve impoundment of a major waterway.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.