Lake Elsinore pumped hydro project lurches forward


An ambitious plan to build a 600 MW pumped hydro facility in California has gotten past a thicket of interconnect issues. If built, a hydroelectric facility will create energy and pump water uphill during off-peak hours from Lake Elsinoreto to a 100 acre reservoir created in an existing canyon. When additional power is needed during peak water, water is released, powering turbines, creating electricity almost instantly. Pumped hydro is one of the oldest methods of stored power.

You will of course note that a reservoir must be built in an existing canyon. NIMBYs will not like this. The project has already taken years. Now it will do three years of feasibility studies then perhaps get the final permit. Building new energy generation facilities in California whether renewable or otherwise, takes years, sometimes decades.

Solar power doubles pumped hydro output


The falling price of solar power during the day in Germany means pumped hydro operators can operate at low prices twice a day now, not just at night when traditional power is cheaper. This potentially doubles output because now reservoirs can be filled twice a day.

With pumped hydro, water is pumped into reservoirs when power is cheap then released as needed to poer turbines.

Portugal to install pumped hydro

Hydroelectric power has been around for a long time. With pumped hydro, water is pumped up to a reservoir during times of excess power production. When power is needed, the water is released to power turbines and create electricity, and it is available almost instantly. This is increasingly important in an era when wind and solar produce power on a variable basis.

Vendo Nova III in Portugal will be completed in 2015 with 760 MW of available pumped-storage power as well as hydro.

California mandates renewable energy grid storage

TVA Racoon Mtn pumped hydro

Renewable energy will now be required to be stored in California so it can be used in off-hours. The most common method is pumped-hydro, with batteries an obvious choice too. With pumped hydro, water is pumped uphill to a holding area. When power is needed, the water is released and used to create energy.

California also just increased its renewable energy goal to 12% by 2012 and 33% by 2020.