Check back periodically for news related to the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project.

Readers respond: Storage is key to electric grid

In response to “Over 6,000 PGE customers lost power amid record heat wave” (June 27): It’s clear that our infrastructure cannot handle today’s severe weather. We saw our neighbors lose power with record high temperatures, which further demonstrates the urgency to modernize our electric grid. We need a strong, resilient and affordable power grid to keep our state and economy running. As Congress looks to address infrastructure needs, energy storage must be seen as a critical path to a more resilient and decarbonized electric grid. By making a stand-alone investment tax credit for energy storage a reality, we hope to see lowered costs and accelerated adoption of storage, just as we have with other clean-energy technologies such as wind and solar.

In Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project will be a critical piece of the region’s clean-energy economy. The more than $800 million project near Klamath Falls will generate 400 megawatts of clean electricity while storing the region’s abundant wind and solar electricity. The project will provide thousands of family-wage jobs during its three- to-five-year construction period. This means that in situations like our recent heat wave, we would have additional sources of energy to hopefully prevent loss of power to our residents.

We need Oregon’s congressional delegation to support the storage investment tax credit. This would mean more good-paying jobs, lower energy bills and a stronger, cleaner, more resilient electric infrastructure that can withstand any extreme weather to come.

Read the opinion on The Oregonian website by clicking here.

CIP acquires Swan Lake and Goldendale

CIP acquires Swan Lake and Goldendale, 393 MW and 1,200 MW pumped storage hydro projects located in Oregon and Washington, USA

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), on behalf of Copenhagen Infrastructure IV K/S, has acquired ownership of the Swan Lake (Klamath County, Oregon) and Goldendale (Klickitat County, Washington) closed-loop pump storage hydro projects. The projects were previously owned and in development under a joint venture between Rye Development (Rye) and National Grid.

“At CIP, we focus on teaming with leading developers and making investments in energy infrastructure assets with a high degree of stability in cash flows,” said Christian Skakkebæk, Senior Partner at CIP. “With the long investment horizon of our funds, it enables us to participate in large projects overseeing contracting, de-risking, financing, construction and operation. Pumped storage hydro is a unique and valuable asset class that will be a key resource as the global transition to renewable energy continues to accelerate in states such as Oregon, Washington and Montana.”

Rye will continue to lead development of the two projects until start of construction. Rye is the leading developer of new hydropower at existing non-powered dams and closed loop pumped storage hydro, in North America.

“CIP acquiring Swan Lake and Goldendale is a great fit for completion of the projects,” said Erik Steimle, Vice President at Rye Development. “CIP recognizes the long term importance of new storage infrastructure projects to help harness and store wind and solar energy for meeting peak demand as both Washington and Oregon move toward a 100 percent clean electricity grid, cost-effectively and reliably.”

To read the full press release, please click here.

Swan Lake Progresses Amid COVID-19

While the COVID-19 pandemic has already had a serious impact on Oregon, the Swan Lake Project continues to move forward, and the project team still anticipates bringing the project online by 2025. Even with the global challenges we are facing, the Swan Lake Project’s commitment to provide safe, reliable, and environmentally sound pumped storage to Oregon has not wavered.

Swan Lake is committed to our obligations to stakeholders, including landowners and local jurisdictions who are partners in this project.

As always, should you have questions about the project please reach out to our team at

-- The Swan Lake Project Team

Klamath County Commissioners Approve SIP Agreement and Tax Abatement for Swan Lake

On June 17, 2020, Klamath County Commissioners approved an Oregon Strategic Investment Program (SIP) agreement and tax abatement for the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project. The SIP was established in the 1990s to try to attract more capital-intensive development to Oregon and offers a 15-year property tax break on a portion of large capital investments.

Projects like Swan Lake have large up-front capital costs that can put the project at a disadvantage under Oregon’s property tax system in comparison to surrounding states, or when compared to smaller, lower capital cost projects even if these smaller projects provide services to customers at a greater cost.

Similar to the hydropower projects built by Oregonians 80 years ago, it takes a great deal of strategic planning and forethought to build these capital-intensive renewable energy projects. These projects allow Oregon and Washington to have among the cheapest sources of electricity in the United States. The Klamath Community Economic Development Association (KCEDA) and Business Oregon were important in identifying how the SIP differed from other generic tax abatements, and how the program’s community service fee provides the county with a substantial new source of discretionary funds to support local projects and services.

Swan Lake Supports Oregon’s Climate Goals

Oregon has long been a leader in the effort to pursue renewable energy to combat climate change and reduce our carbon footprint. The governor’s recent executive order to dramatically curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reaffirmed this commitment, while setting lofty goals for Oregonians and companies operating throughout the state.

The executive order directs Oregon’s Public Utility Commission to prioritize energy resources that advance decarbonization in the utility sector, reduce GHG emissions, reduce energy costs for utility customers and ensure system reliability and resource adequacy.

Swan Lake’s proven pumped storage technology is clearly aligned with Oregon’s goals to reduce emissions, making it an obvious choice to power our homes and businesses into the future. Pumped storage technology makes wind and solar power generation viable sources of energy by storing the energy for later use, giving the state a pathway toward major greenhouse gas reduction in line with the goals of the executive order.

Swan Lake looks forward to helping Oregonians fulfill this commitment to carbon reduction and a sustainable energy future.

Click here to learn more about the executive order.

Swan Lake Energy Storage Project Prepares to Apply for PacifiCorp’s 2020 All-Source Request for Proposals

PacifiCorp is in the early stages of its 2020 All-Source Request for Proposals, which includes requests for projects producing up to 595 MW of energy storage systems. Swan Lake’s energy storage project is well-positioned to enter into this process, as we are closely aligned with PacifiCorp’s priorities of carbon reduction, diverse energy source integration and affordability for customers.

Swan Lake plans to submit its proposal to PacifiCorp with the intent to provide energy storage services that will power businesses and homes across PacifiCorp’s service area, which includes southern, central, north, western and the Willamette Valley areas of Oregon.

The RFP process will begin in July 2020 with agreements scheduled to be executed in November 2021. We will keep our stakeholders apprised of this process, and other service developments, as the process progresses.

Click here for more details on the PacifiCorp RFP.

Rye Development Pledges to Use Union Labor to Construct Swan Lake Energy Storage Project

The Southern Oregon Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents a diverse membership of skilled labor, and Rye Development, a leading developer of new low-impact hydro power energy generation and energy storage in the United States, announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding construction of the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project.

“Swan Lake Energy Storage will create an estimated 1,440 full-year equivalent construction jobs and almost 2,000 induced jobs in supporting industries during its 4-year construction period,” remarked Drew Waits, Secretary-Treasurer of the Southern Oregon Building and Construction Trades Council. “This represents a tremendous number of well-paying local construction jobs in southern Oregon, as well as valuable apprenticeship opportunities for the next generation of skilled tradespeople.”

Click here to read the news release.

PGE Modifies IRP, Potentially Opens Door for Pumped Storage

Portland General Electric has modified its 2019 integrated resource plan (IRP) in ways that could potentially benefit the Swan Lake pumped storage project. The utility agreed in a Jan. 17 filing to issue an RFP for “non-emitting dispatchable resources” that would take into consideration the long lead times needed to develop a pumped storage project. There are nine pumped storage projects proposed for the Northwest, but only the Swan Lake project, proposed near Klamath Falls, OR, along the California/Oregon Intertie, has been granted an operating license from FERC and could be on line by 2025. Nathan Sandvig, Director of U.S. Strategic Growth for National Grid Ventures, noted that this IRP modification provides greater certainty as the company makes ongoing investments to deliver the Swan Lake project when it’s needed. “While it’s an ultra-mature technology, it’s not an off-the-shelf solution. It’s a customized solution that requires a fair amount of engineering and preconstruction work tailored to this site.”

Visit the Clearing Up website here or read the article directly by clicking here.

It’s still a long way from being built, but an $800 million pumped storage project in Southern Oregon got good news from Portland General Electric late last week.

In a regulatory filing, the investor-owned electric utility proposed moving quicker than originally planned to explore plugging a capacity gap expected to open up later this decade. That could put the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project, which has a development timeline of several years, into play.

Visit the Portland Business Journal website here or read the article directly by clicking here.

A new study by the energy consulting firm Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3) finds that the Pacific Northwest is facing a looming shortage of capacity resources, a situation that could have serious implications for the reliability of the electricity system and jeopardize Oregon’s ability to meet its climate goals. These findings should concern everyone. The strong warnings presented by this and other studies over the past several months highlight the need for regional utilities to make smart decisions today to address this impending crisis and ensure Oregon and other states can achieve their ambitious decarbonization targets.

Click here to read the article or read the E3 study directly by clicking here.

In this November 24, 2019 Letter to the Editor, Klamath County commissioner Derrick DeGroot explains how the significant investment, job creation, and economic benefits generated by energy projects like Swan Lake can help rural communities in rural Oregon reinvent themselves. Noting that the Swan Lake project "can be a huge win-win for PGE customers and Klamath County," he encourages PGE to seek approval from the Oregon Public Utility Commission to contract for power from the Swan Lake project.

Click here to read the article.

In May of 2019, Swan Lake received its permit to move forward with constructing the pumped storage hydro project. To mark the project’s approval, Rye Development has released a report on the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project and the attitudes toward pumped storage hydroelectric energy in Oregon. The report details the process behind pumped storage hydro and discusses detailed survey results from Oregon residents regarding their renewable energy preferences. Results from the survey indicate that Portland-area residents view stored renewable energy very favorably and the development of pumped hydro storage plants is well-received.

Click here to read the report.

After completing an extensive RFP process, the Swan Lake leadership team has selected Stantec to provide the engineering services for the Swan Lake Pumped storage hydroelectric project.

Stantec is a leading engineering firm that provides services around the globe for cutting edge energy projects. Like the leading the partners on the Swan Lake Project, Stantec is committed to prioritizing the health, safety, security and environment on all the projects they are involved in.

We are excited to enter into this partnership with Stantec on an exciting project like Swan Lake.

Following an intense RFP process, the Swan Lake Leadership team has awarded the Right of Way Contract to HDR, a long-established provider of engineering, real estate and construction firm with a hundred year track record providing professional services.

To make sure the energy harnessed from renewable solar and wind projects is safely transmitted to homes in the region, Swan Lake has contracted with HDR to construct.

We know HDR has the talent and expertise to manage the land use system in Oregon.

Portland General Electric (PGE) regularly evaluates its plan for providing safe and reliable power to their customers. This process, regulated by the Oregon Public Utility Commission, is known as Integrated Resource Planning (IRP).

On July 19, 2019, Portland General Electric filed a 2019 integrated resource plan with the Oregon Public Utility Commission. As part of their plan to meet Oregon’s aggressive decarbonization goals, provide reliable power, and maintain affordability for customers their action plan includes procurement of pumped storage hydro electric projects.

The IRP states “To make meaningful progress while taking advantage of continued cost declines and the limited remaining availability of federal tax credits, our plan calls for additional renewables in the near term."

To review PGE’s IRP Executive Summary click here. To view the full IRP, you can visit PGE's website here

We are happy to announce that the Swan Lake Project has passed another milestone in the process to make the Swan Lake Project a reality.

On September 12th, the Bureau of Reclamation signed the record of decision issuing the Swan Lake Project the Right-of-Use (ROU) authorization for a transmission line to be constructed on two remote 40-acre parcels east of Klamath Falls, Oregon. The 19-acre site, adjacent to the Lost River, will be used to construct and maintain an electrical transmission line, associated right-of-way, four mono-poles that support the transmission line and temporary access roads for the Swan Lake project.

With this authorization in place, the Swan Lake Project can move forward with constructing the power transmission lines, integrating the stored solar and wind power from Swan Lake into the grid.

Click here to read the official record of decision from the Bureau of Reclamation.

In October of 2015, after five years of studies and consultation with resource agencies, stakeholders, and residents, the developer filed a formal application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for approval to construct, own, and operate the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project. In August of 2016 FERC held public and agency scoping meetings in Klamath Falls, Oregon to assist with the preparation of Federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed project.

In August of 2018 FERC issued the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and in January of 2019 FERC issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project. The FEIS considers and includes the results of all the completed environmental, socioeconomic, cultural, and engineering, as well as the comments, considerations, and concerns of landowners, community members, government agencies, and located elected officials. The FEIS, concluded that adverse environmental impacts from construction/operation would not be significant with the implementation of FERC-recommended protection, mitigation, and enhancement measures. The FEIS also noted the development team’s efforts to downsize geographic footprint of the project and adjust the transmission line corridor, changes based primarily on accommodating landowner requests, avoidance of sensitive and/or cultural and historic resources, or engineering/design considerations.