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City of San Diego, local water authority look to develop 500MW pumped storage project

Both the City of San Diego and the Water Authority announced that a joint Request for Letters of Interest were released Wednesday for the 500MW project. Image: Portland Electric Energy
The San Diego County Water Authority and the City of San Diego announced Wednesday that they have taken steps towards developing a new 500MW pumped energy storage project at the San Vicente Reservoir.

If developed, the installation will offer electric grid stability to the region during both peak times and on days where demand is high and other renewable-energy outlets are scarce.

Both the City of San Diego and the Water Authority announced that a joint Request for Letters of Interest were released Wednesday, with the companies reaching out to electric utilities, developers, investors and energy off-takers in an effort to find groups willing to purchase power generated from the site.

The request will also help determine what possible next steps are in the best interests of regional ratepayers and stakeholders.

Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority board of directors, “When we filled San Vicente Reservoir last summer, we filled it with more than just water – we filled it with huge potential for energy benefits. Given this new potential for energy from a recently expanded water resource, it’s only prudent to continue to research the potential benefits to our region’s ratepayers.”

The main piece of the project would comprise of an interconnection and pumping system located between the existing San Vicente Reservoir and a new, smaller reservoir located uphill. The pumping system would be used during off-peak energy-use periods to pump water from the existing San Vicente Reservoir to the new reservoir.

Proposals in response to the Request for Letters of Interest are due to the Water Authority by 2 p.m. on Feb. 15, and questions regarding the request must be emailed to the Water Authority no later than 2 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2017.

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