Hydro Green Energy proposes 2,608 MW of hydro in California

An affiliate of Hydro Green Energy LLC recently filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for two preliminary permits on pumped storage hydro projects along the California coast that would use seawater.

The latest application came on Aug. 7 from HGE Energy Storage 1 LLC for a proposed 1,338-MW project in Santa Barbara County, Calif., near Vandenberg Air Force Base. HGE Energy Storage 1 LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hydro Green Energy LLC of Westmont, Ill.

This pumped storage hydropower project will consist of a single new reservoir, created by the construction of embankments, joined with the Pacific Ocean by about 10,000 feet of conduit. Maximum hydraulic head will be approximately 1,490 feet. Equipment will consist of six 223 MW, reversible variable-speed pump-turbines in a new powerhouse, totaling 1,338 MW of capacity. Annual energy production is projected to be about 3,911,925 MWh.

The project will interconnect to the power grid via a new single-circuit 230-kV line approximately 12 miles in length. A breakwater is planned for purposes of reducing water level fluctuation during pumping mode and to dissipate energy from discharge water during generation mode, helping to protect the marine environment.

Project equipment will be designed for corrosion-resistance, extremely stringent leakage protection, marine organism fouling protection, and other measures required for the use of seawater. The applicant has secured a letter of interest from a major equipment supplier for the project. This supplier provided equipment and has maintained a seawater pumped storage project in Japan since the early 1990s with no negative marine ecosystem consequences.

“The Project will be operated to provide support to variable, intermittent renewable resources being interconnected to the transmission grid in the State of California,” said the Aug. 7 application. “The Project will use the dynamic capabilities of pumped storage to provide ancillary services in the efficient integration of wind and solar resources from both an operational and economic standpoint.”

A 1,270-MW project covered by another recent application

HGE Energy Storage 1 LLC applied Aug. 5 at FERC for a preliminary permit on a 1,270-MW pumped storage hydro project in Sonoma County, Calif., near Jenner and Fort Ross. A preliminary permit, if approved by FERC, grants a party a 36-month, exclusive right to look at project development. A license application would need to be filed with the commission if the decision is to proceed from there.

“The pumped storage hydropower project will consist of a single new reservoir, created by the construction of embankments, joined with the Pacific Ocean by approximately 19,000 feet of conduit,” said the application. “Maximum hydraulic head will be 1,700 feet. Equipment will consist of five 254 MW, reversible variable-speed pump-turbines in a new powerhouse, totaling 1,270 MW of generating capacity. Annual energy production is projected to be approximately 3,714,406 MWh.”

The project will interconnect to the power grid via a new single-circuit 230-kV line of about 24.7 miles in length. The powerhouse and substation will be located near the Pacific Ocean, approximately 100 feet below ground level. Tentative dimensions are 250 feet long by 75 feet wide by 100 feet high.

That Aug. 5 application offered the same rationale for the project as in the Aug. 7 application, including a need to support variable renewable energy development in the region.

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.