Bison Peak works on various aspects of California hydro project

Bison Peak Pumped Storage LLC told the Federal Energy Commission on June 28 that it is making progress on the 500 MW-1,000 MW Bison Peak Pumped Storage Project in California.

During the third six-month period of the preliminary permit granted by the commission on January 2012, progress and activities included:

  • Active participation as a party in the California Public Utilities Commission’s Energy Storage Proceeding R.10-12-007. This proceeding is to help form the procurement methodology for energy storage in California, in support of California Legislation AB-2514.
  • Extensive interaction with parties to the CPUC proceeding to help build a consensus towards projects being built.
  • Communication and due diligence with state and county authorities regarding the permitting and water process for the project.
  • Advanced dialogue with potential manufacturers and engineers for the project.
  • The company conducted a power market optimization and storage integration model for the project.
  • Refinement of resource and financial modeling, including capability for achieving a high penetration of zero carbon energy into the California market.
  • Successfully completed first-phase high-level fatal flaw analysis on the project.

In May 2011, Bison Peak Pumped Storage filed an application for a preliminary permit to study the proposed Bison Peak Pumped Storage Project No. 14201, to be located in the Tehachapi Mountains south of Tehachapi in Kern County, Calif. The company proposed four alternatives for the placement of a lower reservoir. Water for the initial fill of each of the alternatives would be obtained from local water agency infrastructure via a route that would be identified during studies.

  • The South alternative proposal would include: a powerhouse containing four 250-MW reversible pump turbines and located 900 feet below ground level, about midway between the upper and lower reservoirs; and a 3.2- or 5.3-mile-long, 345-kV transmission line to either the existing Cottonwind or Windhub substations, respectively.
  • The Tejon alternative proposal includes: a powerhouse containing four 250-MW reversible pump turbines and located 900 feet below ground level, about midway between the upper and lower reservoirs; and a 14.2- or 14.8-mile-long transmission line (including both new construction of a 345- kV line and upgrades to existing transmission lines) to either the existing Cottonwind or Windhub substations, respectively. The estimated annual generation of the Bison Peak Pumped Storage Project under this option would be 3,066 gigawatt-hours.
  • The Horsethief alternative would include: a powerhouse containing four 125-MW reversible pump turbines and located 1,500 feet below ground level, about midway between the upper and lower reservoirs; and a 15.7- or 11.5-mile-long transmission line (including both new construction of a 230-kV line and upgrades to existing transmission lines) to either the existing Whirlwind or Windhub substations, respectively. The estimated annual generation of the Bison Peak Pumped Storage Project under this option would be 1,533 gigawatt-hours.
  • The Sawmill alternative would include: a powerhouse containing four 125-MW reversible pump turbines and located 450 feet below ground level, approximately midway between the upper and lower reservoirs; and a 16.8- or 10.9-mile-long transmission line (including both new construction of a 230-kV line and upgrades to existing transmission lines) to either the existing Whirlwind or Windhub substations, respectively. The estimated annual generation of the project under this option would be 1,533 gigawatt-hours.
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.