San Diego agencies work on joint deal for 500-MW pumped storage hydro project

The San Diego County Water Authority on Jan. 13 asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a 90-day hold on the commission’s review of a preliminary permit application for a pumped storage hydro project while the authority works out a project issue.

On Oct. 30, 2014, the commission issued a public notice of the San Diego County Water Authority’s application for a preliminary permit. On Dec. 29, 2014, the City of San Diego filed a motion to intervene, protest, and request for hearing. The Water Authority and the city have entered into certain agreements that contemplate development of the San Vicente Pumped Storage Project as a partnership between them, and contemplate that they will jointly hold the license for the project.

“It continues to be the intent of the Parties that the Project be developed in this manner,” the Jan. 13 delay request said. “However, the Parties require further time to complete additional agreements regarding the specific partnership arrangements. When those additional agreements are reached, the Parties intend to amend the pending preliminary permit application by naming the Water Authority and the City as joint applicants. In order to accomplish these ends, the Parties request that the Commission both refrain from acting on the pending motion and hold processing of the preliminary permit application in abeyance, for a period of 90 days from the date of this submission.”

The project is to be located at the San Vicente reservoir in Lakeside, California. The sole purpose of a preliminary permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license application during the permit term. The members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 16, 2014, had reaffirmed a staff decision to reject an application for a third preliminary permit on this project, but left an opening for the authority to still pursue this project through an entirely new permit application.

The existing San Vicente reservoir would be the lower reservoir for this project, with four options being considered for the upper reservoir. Each option involves a powerhouse containing two 250-MW vertical Francis variable speed reversible pump/turbine-motor/generator units. The project would interconnect to San Diego Gas and Electric’s 500-kV Sunrise Powerlink system.

The applicant contact is: Maureen Stapleton, General Manager, San Diego County Water Authority, 4677 Overland Avenue, San Diego, California 92123; phone: (858) 522-6781.

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.