FERC seeks update on 450-MW Nevada pumped storage project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sent a Jan. 29 letter to The International Consortium of Energy Managers asking for an overdue progress report on a 450-MW pumped storage hydroelectric project in Nevada.

FERC in July 2012 granted the consortium a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the Blue Diamond Pumped Storage Project, to be located in Clark County, Nev. The proposed project would be closed loop and would not be located on any existing water body. The preliminary permit granted three years of exclusivity to look at project feasibilty, with a license application then required if the decision is to keep moving the project forward.

It would consist of: a new embankment creating an upper reservoir with a maximum elevation of 4,810 feet above mean sea level (MSL), and a storage capacity of 4,900 acre-feet; a new embankment creating a lower reservoir with a maximum elevation of 3,320 feet MSL, and a storage capacity of 4,900 acre-feet; a 21-foot-diameter, 4,300-foot-long concrete and steel penstock; a powerhouse containing two pump/turbine units with a total installed capacity of 450 MW; and a 132-kV, 3.5-mile-long transmission line. The proposed project would produce about 4,500 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy daily, and use about 5,600 MWh daily to pump water from the lower to the upper reservoir.

The preliminary permit requires submittal of a progress report every six months. “According to our records, the third progress report, which was due on January 2, 2014, has not been filed,” said the Jan. 29 FERC letter. “The failure to timely file the progress reports warrants the cancellation of the preliminary permit. This letter constitutes notice under section 5 of the Federal Power Act of the probable cancellation of the preliminary permit no less than 30 days from the date of this letter.”

The company told FERC in an August 2013 update report that progress was being made on the project, including: a number of detailed site visits; discussions with 
stakeholders about alternatives to the project description shown in the preliminary permit; meetings held in Nevada on the issues of water rights and power purchase arrangements; the company’s representatives are participating in a number of regulatory proceedings in California relative to storage and connecting into the California grid; and discussions with investors on funding for the project.

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.