Frequently Asked Questions
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a 50-year construction and operational license for the proposed Swan Lake Energy Storage Project in the second quarter of 2019. We want to continue to engage stakeholders in a dialogue about the project as we now move past the decade long permitting process and into construction. If you don’t see the answers to your questions here, we encourage you to reach out to us.
PSH facilities are closed-loop systems that move water between a lower reservoir and an upper reservoir. Water is released from the upper reservoir and used to power hydroelectric generation, collected in the lower reservoir, and returned to the upper reservoir to repeat the process. When the energy used to return the water is from solar or wind, PSH is considered a carbon- and pollution-free source of on-demand power.
California and the Pacific Northwest are pursuing aggressive strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity production, including the planned retirement of existing coal-fired power plants and reduced reliance on natural gas-fired generation serving the region. It is estimated that under current policies, as much as 8,000 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity will come offline by 2030.
Renewable energy sources like solar and wind are poised to fill the gap but transitioning to a heavy reliance on intermittent generation means bulk energy storage is needed. Pumped storage hydro is the best technology to support the successful integration of large amounts of wind and solar power and provide grid-wide benefits. Battery storage will play a role in this transition as well, but the technology is not ideally suited for longer duration bulk energy storage and has drawbacks that include a short lifespan, a large carbon footprint, and significant environmental impacts.
PSH like other significant infrastructure projects takes time to plan and construct even once a Federal License has been issued. As a result, the project is planned to be placed into service in 2025. Residents can expect to see construction activity on the ground in 2021.
It is our intent to negotiate voluntary easements with all landowners. Please visit Landowners Page for further information on the easement process.
During construction, the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project expected to support thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in earnings for construction workers. Once constructed, the permanent operations jobs are well paid family wage positions that cannot be moved offshore.
The construction of the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project is capital-intensive and represents a significant investment in durable domestic energy infrastructure. The project will provide a significant boost to the Klamath Falls economy and help increase the tax base by creating thousands of construction jobs, more than a dozen permanent operations and maintenance jobs, as well as local and regional demand for materials and services.
The successful integration of large amounts of wind and solar will increasingly depend on the ability to store large amounts of renewable energy on a daily basis so that it can be dispatched when and where it’s needed. PSH is the most economical bulk energy storage solution that can address these challenges:
Storing renewable energy and absorbing over-generation: PSH facilities can store large amounts of energy for use when needed, a feature that is particularly valuable during periods of over-generation when renewable energy production exceeds demand.
Meeting peak demand: PSH resources are uniquely suited to releasing stores of renewable energy over long durations during periods of peak demand.
Capturing oversupply of solar: PSH can support the efficient storage of large amounts of California solar energy for delivery to Oregon consumers at times of peak demand.
Minimizing curtailment and transmission congestion: Renewable resources are often located in remote areas with limited transmission. When transmission lines become congested, renewable generation sources are forced to curtail their production. PSH acts as a buffer, optimizing the use of existing transmission lines and minimizing strain on the electrical grid, thereby reducing the need for upgrades.
In addition, PSH can provide most (if not all) of the grid reliability services currently provided by fossil fuel-fired power plants, such as primary frequency and voltage response. These ancillary services are critical to maintaining a reliable electricity grid. For these reasons, PSH is the best available bulk energy storage technology for supporting renewables integration.
At both Rye Development and National Grid, safety is our number one priority. The construction and ongoing operation of the facility will prioritize safety for workers, communities and stakeholders. Please visit our Safety Page for more information.
Dozens of studies and a federal environmental impact statement were completed over the course of a decade long permitting process to ensure that the licensed project minimized impacts to the environment. The 50-year construction and operational license issued in 2019 includes numerous construction and operational measures that require the owner/operator to restore, protect, mitigate and/or enhance lands impacted by the project. Commonly asked about protection/precautions for existing infrastructure:
Normal farming and other commercial/non-commercial equipment and vehicles should be able to cross the easement without any restrictions
We are responsible for the repair of existing infrastructure including irrigation equipment, or utilities, damaged during project construction
We will minimize road impacts during construction and will be responsible for repairing any road damage caused by construction.