FERC seeks update on 400-MW pumped storage project in Nevada

On Sept. 11, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sent a letter to Water Asset Management LLC saying that the first six-month update under a preliminary permit for a 400-MW pumped storage hydro project is overdue.

In 2012, Water Asset Management filed an application for a preliminary permit proposing to study the feasibility of the Winnemucca Farms West Pumped Storage Project to be located on the Humboldt River near the town of Paradise Valley, Humboldt County, Nev. That permit was approved in November 2012.

Under the permit, the company has three years to look at the feasibility of the project, with a mandate to file update reports with the commission every six months during that period.

The proposed project would consist of:

  • a 7,835-acre-foot upper reservoir, formed by a 250-foot-high, rockfill earthwork impoundment, with a total storage capacity of 6,000 acre-feet and a water surface area of 101 acres at full pool elevation of 5,295 feet above mean sea level (msl);
  • a 10,230-acre-foot lower reservoir, formed by an 80-foot-high, rockfill earthwork impoundment, with a total storage capacity of 9,350 acre-feet and a water surface area of 204 acres at full pool elevation of 4,385 feet msl;
  • a concrete-lined penstock branching upstream of the powerhouse to steel-lined penstocks connecting to the pumping units;
  • a concrete-lined tailrace connecting to the lower reservoir; and
  • an underground powerhouse, with vertical Francis-type single-stage pump-turbines totaling 400 MW of generating capacity.

The annual energy output would be about 237,120 megawatt hours. Interconnection would be provided at either: a 25-mile-long, overhead single-circuit 345-kV line owned by subsidiaries of NV Energy; or a new local substation to allow for a joint connection with the sister Winnemucca Farms East Site project, which would be built in a phased approach with the West Site.

The main project components of the East Site consist of an upper and lower reservoir, a pressure tunnel with an underground compressed air surge chamber, and surface powerhouse. The East Site layout has a maximum head of about 300 meters and would have an estimated 400 MW of capacity on top of the 400 MW at the West Site.

The contact for the company, as listed in the application, is: Disque Deane Jr.,
 Water Asset Management LLC, 509 Madison Avenue, Suite 804, New York, NY 10022, Telephone: 212-754-5132, Fax: 212-754-5101.

Pumped storage projects like these are considered a key to storing energy during peak generation for renewable energy sources like wind and solar, then for using that energy during non-peak times for those renewables.

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.