City of Los Angeles wants to turn Hoover Dam into world’s largest pumped energy storage facility

By Steve Hanley, CleanTechnica

Hydroelectric power has many advantages. It is renewable and has no carbon emissions, but there is a catch. After the water passes through the turbines, it is discharged into the Colorado River and can no longer be used to make electricity until it is absorbed by the atmosphere, blown by prevailing winds upstream of the dam, falls as rain, and is redeposited in Lake Mead to begin the process all over again.

According to the New York Times (“$3 Billion Plan to Turn Hoover Dam Into a Giant Battery”-  Jul. 24, 2018), the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has a better idea. It wants to build a pumping station about 20 miles downstream from the Hoover Dam, recapture some of the water, and pump it back into Lake Mead where it can be used to generate more electricity once again. The proposed plan would cost about $3 billion.

The problem is that California has so much renewable energy available now, thanks in large measure to aggressive state mandated policies, that much of its is “constrained.” That’s utility industry speak for having to give it away or simply let it go to waste. In some cases, utilities in California actually pay other utility companies to take the excess electricity off their hands.

Why not store it all in some of Elon Musk’s grid scale batteries? Simply put, pumped hydroelectric storage is cheaper than battery storage, at least for now. Lazard, the financial advisory and asset management firm, estimates utility scale lithium-ion batteries cost 26 cents per kilowatt-hour compared with 15 cents for pumped hydro storage.

Read full article from CleanTechnica

 

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation