FERC takes comment on three big Calif. pumped storage projects

Hydro Green Energy eyes three projects that would use seawater for power gen

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 19 issued notices about three preliminary permits applied for earlier this year by Hydro Green Energy LLC for pumped storage hydro projects that would total 3,921 MW of capacity.

The commission will take 60 days of comment on each of the applications. Preliminary permits allow the developer three years of exclusive time to look at project feasibility, with a license application then needed if there is a decision to proceed.

Each project involves pumping water out of the Pacifiic Ocean to an upland reservoir, then releasing the water at high power demand periods back into the ocean to generate peaking power. Pumped storage is the most proven technology to store power during low demand periods and to even out the intermittent output from solar and wind projects.

The proposed projects are:

  • On Aug. 5, Hydro Green Energy applied for the Vandenberg West Project to be located near Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, Calif. The project would include: an earthen embankment; an upper reservoir; seven penstocks; a tailrace; a concrete and steel lined pressure shaft; seven 193-MW, reversible variable-speed pump-turbines; a new powerhouse; a vertical access tunnel; a breakwater constructed from precast concrete tetrapods; and a new single-circuit 230-kV transmission line about 20 miles in length. The annual generation would be approximately 3,952 gigawatt-hours.
  • On Aug. 7, Hydro Green Energy applied for the Vandenberg East Project, also to be located near Vandenberg Air Force Base. This project is similar to Vandenberg West, and includes six 223-MW, reversible variable-speed pump-turbines and a new single-circuit 230-kV transmission line about 12 miles in length. The estimated annual generation would be around 3,911 gigawatt-hours.
  • On Aug. 15, Hydro Green Energy proposed the Pendleton South Project to be located near Camp Pendleton South in San Diego County, Calif. This would be similar to the Vandenberg projects, and would include eight 154-MW, reversible variable-speed pump-turbines and a new single-circuit 230-kV transmission line about nine miles in length. The annual generation would be about 3,607 gigawatt-hours. 

The contact for all three applications is: Mark Stover, Hydro Green Energy LLC, 900 Oakmont Lane, Suite 310, Westmont, IL 60559; phone: (877) 556-6566 ext. 709.

Barry Cassell
About the Author

Barry Cassell

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 26 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.

Barry can be reached at barryc@pennwell.com.

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