The Hydro Energy project is currently in the planning stages. The San Diego County Water Authority and the city of San Diego are now looking for a private partner to help them construct and run a pumped energy storage facility at the San Vicente Reservoir. The city and the Water Authority have issued a request for proposal to identify an appropriate team to create one of the state’s largest “pumped hydro” projects, which will add megawatts and flexibility to California’s power system.
Potential partners’ proposals will be accepted until November 3rd. The San Vicente Energy Storage Facility is expected to cost $1.5 billion to construct and develop. Gary Bosquet, the Water Authority’s director of engineering said in a statement, “We are committed to finding a private partner who can help move this from concept to completion.”
The long-debated project would see the creation of an upper reservoir of around 8,000 acre-feet of water to supplement the existing San Vicente Reservoir, which is situated in the Cuyamaca Mountains near Lakeside and holds 247,000 acre-feet of water. A tunnel system and an underground powerhouse with four reversible pump turbines would connect the two reservoirs. Water would be pumped from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir as part of the project. The water would be released later, and the resulting flood would create electricity.
Pumped Hydro Energy projects have been a component of the nation’s electricity infrastructure for more than a century, but they’ve taken on a bigger role in recent years as states and municipalities try to cut greenhouse gas emissions substantially. California plans to generate all of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045. The facility was given $18 million in the state budget in July to help it get through the frequently lengthy initial design, environmental evaluations, and federal licencing procedures.