Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) plans to upgrade its Bad Creek pumped storage hydro facility in South Carolina over the 2018-2023 period, in part of fill the gaps in power production from ever-growing solar generation in the region, said a Sept. 19 report in the local Greenville newspaper.
Duke Energy announced this at the 25th anniversary ceremony for its 1,065-MW Bad Creek Hydropower Station.
Randy Wheeless, Duke Energy spokesman, was quoted as saying that large-scale solar development presents a set of challenges to the energy grid. “We’ve had a few examples where the fluctuation of the solar facility nearby causes some unstableness in the circuit,” Wheeless said. “We’ve had some commercial customers interrupted. So we’re mindful of that and want to create a situation in the future where solar and storage and the rest of the grid work together so customers don’t notice that.”
Duke Energy plans to increase the capacity at Bad Creek by replacing each of the four turbines with newer models that will generate a total of 200 MW more when completed, said Preston Pierce, manager of Duke Hydro West.
Though Duke likely would have made the upgrades at some point, the project took on added urgency with the advent of solar energy as a viable resource in South Carolina, said Regis Repko, a Duke senior vice president.
Said the Duke website about this facility: “The Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station is a 1,065-megawatt pumped-storage facility located in Oconee County, eight miles north of Salem, S.C. The four-unit station began generating electricity in 1991, and is the largest hydroelectric station on the Duke Energy system. It is named for the two streams, Bad Creek and West Bad Creek, which were dammed to create the Bad Creek reservoir.”