Project Description

The Swan Lake Energy Storage Project will provide 400 megawatts (MW) of on-demand renewable energy to serve communities across Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Located in Klamath County, the $800 million+ project leverages its proximity to critical north-south electric transmission access, ultimately storing the region’s abundant wind and solar electricity to use when it is needed. Once operational, the project will avoid/save the equivalent of 595,063 tons of CO2 emissions each year.

Learn more about pumped energy storage here.

Click here to view a detailed siting map.

Combating Climate Change

Under Oregon’s Clean Energy Bill, signed into law in 2021, utilities must supply Oregon customers with 100% renewable electricity by 2040. Providing a 100% carbon-free electricity to Oregonians by 2040 will require technologies that complement the intermittent nature of wind and solar, ensuring that there is always enough energy to meet demand. The Swan Lake Energy Storage Project is a critical piece of achieving 100% renewable while combatting the climate crisis:

Reduced land-use impacts: The Project will generate 400 MW of renewable electricity in under 200 acres – approximately the same amount of generation as 2,440 acres of wind or 17,880 acres of solar.

Store renewable energy and absorb over-generation: The Project will store large amounts of solar and wind for use when needed, a feature that is particularly valuable when renewable energy production exceeds demand.

Meeting peak demand: The Project is uniquely suited to release renewable energy over long durations during periods of peak demand, ensuring the lights stay on when Oregonians most need them.

Minimizing curtailment and transmission congestion: The Project acts as a buffer, optimizing the use of existing transmission lines and minimizing strain on the electrical grid, thereby reducing the need for upgrades.

Generating Carbon-Free Electricity Without Building New Dams

"Closed-loop” systems such as the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project do not involve the construction of a new dam on a river. Rather, they rely on the construction of two reservoirs—a lower one and an elevated one—that recirculate water.

In October 2020, a dozen stakeholders from the environmental nonprofit sector and the energy industry—including Rye Development, American Rivers, American Whitewater and more—signed a joint agreement to address climate change “by both advancing the renewable energy and storage benefits of hydropower and the environmental and economic benefits of healthy rivers.” The agreement specifically calls out closed-loop storage projects as part of the solution.

The Looming Electricity Deficit

Oregon and the Pacific Northwest face an impending crunch where the need for power will exceed the available supply during times of peak demand in the Summer and Winter. According to a study released in late 2019, this gap will rise to up to 7,000 megawatts (MW) by 2025 and up to 10,000 MW by 2030. Meeting this gap will require both an increase in renewable generating capacity, as well as the ability to store power for when it is needed most.

The Swan Lake Energy Storage Project provides a solution, using a proven technology to ensure an on-demand supply of renewable energy. Meeting this gap is critical to ensuring stability in energy prices and avoiding brownouts and other disruptions during those periods of peak demand.

  • The Swan Lake Energy Project will be integral to ensuring affordable, reliable power as we transition to 100% renewable energy, while also creating stable, long-term jobs for Klamath County.

Protecting the Natural Environment

As Oregonians, we take seriously our duty to preserve our natural spaces and ecosystems. That is why the Swan Lake Energy Project underwent a decade-long design process to ensure a will minimize its environmental footprint.

Environmental, engineering, and cultural studies were completed to evaluate potential locations including alternate transmission routes to identify the solution with the least impact to natural systems, existing landowners, and environmental and cultural resources.

To engage the community, the project hosted open houses and meetings and participated in local events to encourage open discussion with community members, landowners, and public agencies.

Click here to download a copy of the Final Federal Environmental Impact Statement for the Project.

Project Timeline

A safe, reliable, and environmental sound way to meet clean energy needs, grow Oregon’s economy, and create thousands of new jobs.