Eagle Crest Energy Co. has received its license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its Eagle Mountain pumped storage hydroelectric project. FERC has authorized a total of 24 pumped storage projects that are constructed and in operation, with a total installed capacity of approximately 16,500 MW. Most of these projects were authorized more than 30 years ago.
The Eagle Mountain Hydroelectric Pumped Storage project will operate as an energy storage facility – water will be stored in a lower elevation reservoir and then pumped to a higher elevation reservoir during periods of low electrical demand. Water in the upper reservoir will be held until energy is needed to meet electrical demand, then it is released through a powerhouse where it will generate more valuable on-peak energy. The project is closed loop, in that there is no connection to any existing lake or river. The project is located on the site of the inactive Eagle Mountain mine, in Riverside County, California, near the town of Desert Center. The pits at the mine have been unused for decades and will be modified to become water storage reservoirs.
The Eagle Mountain Pumped Storage Project will be an integral component of California’s renewable energy policies, and its goals for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It will play a major role in satisfying peak energy demands, integration of renewable energy resources located in the California desert, and management of the regional transmission grid so that on-demand reliable energy can be delivered throughout southern California. The Eagle Mountain Pumped Storage Project, once completed, will provide up to 1,300 megawatts (MW) of energy for peak demand periods, which would make it the 15th largest pumped storage project in the world, and the 5th largest in the United States.
Under contract to and working closely with Eagle Crest Energy, GEI Consultants, Inc. led the consultant team responsible for licensing efforts, which began 2007. GEI was selected for this role because of our specialized knowledge of FERC licensing procedures, dam design, and California water resources planning and hydrogeology. GEI’s responsibilities included preparation of the License Application including the Supporting Design Report, Environmental Assessment, Project Schedule and other exhibits. GEI also assisted the client with stakeholder consultation, identification of potential sources of water supply, development of project configuration; technical analyses for the upper reservoir dams, water conducting tunnels, and underground powerhouse; conceptual designs for project water supply, reservoir seepage control and monitoring measures; drainage and flood management, as well as access roads, and tunnels, and the reservoirs’ water quality management system.