Input sought on EDF app for 393-MW pumped storage hydro project in Oregon

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Dec. 18 notice on a final license application from Swan Lake North Hydro LLC for the Swan Lake North Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project, to be located approximately 11 miles northeast of the city of Klamath Falls in Klamath County, Oregon.

The applicant contact is: Joe Eberhardt, EDF-Renewable Energy, 1000 SW Broadway Ave., Ste. 1800, Portland, OR 97205; phone: (503) 889-3838.

The deadline for filing motions to intervene and protests is Feb. 16, 2016.

The proposed project would be a closed-loop system using groundwater for initial fill and would include these new facilities; an earthen embankment forming a geomembrane-lined upper reservoir with a surface area of 64.21 acres and a storage capacity of 2,568 acre-feet at a maximum surface elevation of 6,135 feet above mean sea level (msl); an earthen embankment forming a geomembrane-lined lower reservoir with a surface area of 60.14 acres and a storage capacity of 3,206 acre-feet at a maximum surface elevation of 4,457 feet msl; a spillway built into the crest of each embankment; a partially-buried powerhouse with three 131.1-MW reversible pump-turbine units with a total installed capacity of 393.3 MW; and a 32.8-mile, 230-kV above-ground transmission line interconnecting to an existing non-project substation. The project would generate about 1,187 gigawatt-hours annually.

This is to be a pumped storage hydroelectric project with a total installed capacity of 393.3 MW in turbine mode, consuming around 300 MW by the end of the pumping cycle. The upper reservoir and its associated features are to be located on Swan Lake Rim, a high desert plateau rising approximately 1,500 feet (ft) above the Swan Lake Valley. The lower reservoir, powerhouse, and open air terminal are all to be within the Swan Lake Valley, a 10-mile-long lake basin.

The transmission ROW is approximately 32.8 miles long and runs generally southeast from the project site, west of Dairy and Bonanza, east of Bryant Mountain, to the Bonneville Power Administration‘s (BPA) Malin Substation.

Pumped storage is essentially a way to store energy, by pumping water up a hill during low power demand periods, when electricity is cheap and somewhat unneeded, and releasing the water for hydropower production during peak demand periods. It is seen as a viable way to even out the variable output to the grid of solar and wind projects.

The company originally considered the possibility a 1,144-MW project, but it was re-designed several times to the current version. This 393.3-MW version of the project requires smaller reservoirs, the locations of which were revised to further reduce potential environmental impacts. Additionally, the transmission alignment was modified from the route selected during the transmission line corridor alternatives analysis after the DLA was filed to further reduce environmental and visual impacts.

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.