Brookfield asks for extra time on 280-MW pumped storage project

BPUS Generation Development LLC, an indirect subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP, applied Nov. 26 at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a two-year extension of its about-to-expire preliminary permit on a 280-MW pumped storage project in California.

This is called the Mulqueeney Ranch Pumped Storage Project. The existing, three-year preliminary permit for it expires Dec. 31, 2013. The permit allows the company the exclusive right to explore the feasibility of this project.

The project will be located on private land near the City of Tracy, Calif. The commission issued preliminary permits to Brookfield to study the feasibility of the proposed project in October 2007 and January 2011.

Consistent with the information presented in the previous permit application, the plant generating capacity and energy storage is undergoing optimization to best suit the physical site and electrical system conditions. At the present time, a two-unit, 280-MW facility, with reservoirs sized to provide eight hours of continuous 280 MW output (2,240 MWh), are envisioned.

It is anticipated that the project will interconnect at the existing Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Tesla substation located adjacent to the ranch property. If this substation is a feasible interconnection point, the project’s transmission line length will be less than 1.75 miles. The interconnection voltage may be 230 or 500 kV, and the project’s transmission line may be one or two circuits.

The planned installed capacity is 280 MW, although this may change as studies proceed and the applicant conducts transmission system studies and power market investigations. Assuming a 15% plant factor, which is typical for pumped storage, the average annual electricity production would be 368 GWh. Assuming a cycle efficiency of 78%, which is also typical for pumped storage, the pumping energy requirement is 472 GWh.

The contact information is: Justin Trudell,
 Director, Project Development,
 Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP, 200 Donald Lynch Blvd, Suite 300 Marlborough, MA 01752
Telephone: (508) 251-7650 ext. 7759.

At a time when pumped storage is seen as a key option to store electricity-generating potential so that it can be used to even out intermittent solar and wind production, there are a number of pumped storage projects proposed in and immediately around California, a leader in solar and wind development.

For example:

  • EDF Renewable Energy reported Oct. 11 to FERC that it has taken over sole control of the 1,000-MW Swan Lake North pumped storage hydro project along the California-Oregon line and is now working on a power interconnect deal with PacifiCorp.
  • An affiliate of Hydro Green Energy LLC filed this past summer with FERC for two preliminary permits on pumped storage projects (1,338 MW and 1,270 MW in size) along the California coast that would use seawater as the pumped storage medium.
  • Eagle Crest Energy is pursuing a FERC approval for the 1,300-MW Eagle Mountain Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project in California.
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.