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RFP Issued for 500MW Pumped Hydro Energy Storage in California

A Request for Proposals (RFP) has been issued for a 500MW pumped hydro energy storage project at a reservoir in California by the San Diego County Water Authority.

The authority supports water supplies for more than three million people, supplying wholesale to 24 retail water providers. It has decided to put its San Vicente Reservoir into dual use by turning it into an on-demand clean energy facility while it also supplies water.

Water Authority Seeks Proposals for Pumped Storage System at San Vicente

The San Diego County Water Authority has issued a formal request for proposals to build a pumped-storage generating system at the San Vicente Reservoir by 2030.

The project would use excess solar and wind energy to pump water to a new reservoir above the current dam, and then release it through turbines to generate up to 500 megawatts of electricity when needed.

Request for Proposals Issued to Develop San Vicente Energy Storage Facility

San Diego County Water Authority this week issued a formal Request for Proposals seeking a full-service private partner capable of developing a large-scale pumped energy storage project planned jointly by the Water Authority and the City of San Diego. Proposals are due by 2 p.m. Nov. 3. The partner agencies aim to maximize the value of the existing San Vicente Reservoir for on-demand energy generation to support the state’s clean energy goals.

San Vicente Energy Storage Facility project-renewable energy-grid-pumped hydro

Request for Proposals Issued to Develop San Vicente Energy Storage Facility

San Diego County Water Authority this week issued a formal Request for Proposals seeking a full-service private partner capable of developing a large-scale pumped energy storage project planned jointly by the Water Authority and the City of San Diego. Proposals are due by 2 p.m. Nov. 3, and details such as how to file are included in the RFP document at www.sdcwa.org/contracting-opportunities.

Request for Proposals

The partner agencies aim to maximize the value of the existing San Vicente Reservoir for on-demand energy generation to support the state’s clean energy goals. The Water Authority and the City of San Diego are seeking a full-service, multidisciplinary team capable of delivering and operating the project.  The scope of work is divided into two phases: Phase 1 Preliminary Work and Phase 2 Implementation Work. The RFP details the scope of work required for development and deployment of the project, including a financial plan.

“This is an exciting project that meets multiple goals for the San Diego region, including protection from blackouts and supporting climate-friendly energy sources,” said Gary Bousquet, director of engineering for the Water Authority. “We are committed to finding a private partner who can help move this from concept to completion.”

State funds for San Vicente Energy Storage Facility

In July 2021, the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility received $18 million in the state budget, enough to advance it through initial design, environmental reviews, and the federal licensing process. The San Vicente project is one of the most promising pumped energy storage solutions in California and it would be a major asset to help avoid rolling blackouts through on-demand energy production while helping to meet state climate goals. It also could mitigate costs for water ratepayers across the San Diego region by generating additional revenue to help offset the cost of water purchases, storage, and treatment. The City and the Water Authority are developing the project together, just like they did to raise the height of the city-owned San Vicente Dam 117 feet in the 2010s.

“The San Vicente Energy Storage Facility is an important project for San Diego,” said Juan Guerreiro, executive assistant director of the City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department. “It will improve our energy security, with a clean renewable power solution to help us efficiently manage the energy supply within our region.”

With state funding in place, the Water Authority and the City are preparing to launch federal and state environmental reviews and seek a project license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Those complex components are expected to take at least four years, with construction completion forecast for 2030. The critical infrastructure project will create more than 1,000 construction-related jobs in addition to its other benefits.

Renewable energy for Southern California

Upon completion, the San Vicente energy project would provide up to 500 megawatts of long-duration stored energy, which will assist in meeting peak electrical demand periods throughout Southern California and help meet the goals of Senate Bill 100, which requires 60% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% zero-carbon energy resources statewide by 2045. The project will provide enough energy for about 135,000 households when operating.

California’s continuing shift to renewables will require new kinds of investments, markets, and business practices. Electric grids need to be more flexible; new kinds of power supplies will help deliver energy flexibility when needed; and new pricing systems are needed to send clear signals to developers and financial markets that these projects need to move forward.

Pumped energy storage projects are a major piece of the solution. They are designed to store excess renewable energy from solar and wind during the day, and then discharge that energy when energy use increases in the evening and renewable energy is not available.

The San Vicente project would create a small upper reservoir above the existing San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside, along with a tunnel system and an underground powerhouse to connect the two reservoirs. The powerhouse would contain four reversible pump turbines.

 

 

San Vicente Energy Storage Facility Project-Renewable Energy-Graphic

During off-peak periods – when power is inexpensive and renewable supplies from wind and solar facilities exceed demand – turbines would pump water to the upper reservoir where it would act as a battery of stored potential energy. During high energy use, the system would discharge water from the upper reservoir downhill through the turbines, producing energy. The exchange between the two reservoirs would not consume water.

San Vicente Reservoir is near major electricity transmission interconnection facilities, which would allow the project to play a central role in integrating solar and wind energy from across the Southwest for use in San Diego County. The San Vicente project is largely immune to the challenges faced by some conventional hydropower facilities because it is a closed-loop system that mainly holds imported water and is not reliant on runoff that can fluctuate significantly from year to year and hamper power production.

(Editor’s note: The City of San Diego is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Request for Proposals Issued to Develop San Vicente Energy Storage Facility

Sept. 14, 2021 – The San Diego County Water Authority this week issued a formal Request for Proposals seeking a full-service private partner capable of developing a large-scale pumped energy storage project planned jointly by the Water Authority and the City of San Diego. Proposals are due by 2 p.m. Nov. 3, and details such as how to file are included in the RFP document at www.sdcwa.org/contracting-opportunities.

Funds for Pumped Storage Hydro Expected to Help Propel California’s Clean Energy Future

Employees working at the San Diego County Water Authority and the City of San Diego likely won’t be taking much of an August vacation. Instead, many of them will be gearing up for preliminary studies, environmental reviews, and licensing activities for the proposed San Vicente Energy Storage Facility.

That’s because the facility – being proposed in partnership by the city and the Water Authority – received a shot in the arm in July 2021, when California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the state budget into law. Specifically, the budget includes $18 million in funding – enough to advance the project through initial design, environmental reviews, and the federal licensing process.

The proposed 500-MW project would be located outside of San Diego. It is designed to be closed loop or “off-river,” which means the facility will have few environmental impacts to the local area.

Opinion: San Vicente Hydroelectric Project a Smart Way to Make Power Grid More Resilient

The state government’s decision to provide $18 million to fund preliminary work on state and federal approvals for the long-anticipated San Vicente Energy Storage Facility — advocated by the San Diego County Water Authority and the city of San Diego — makes the $1.5 billion project significantly more likely to come to pass. The great news is that the “pumped hydro” facility at the San Vicente Reservoir near Lakeside will strongly shore up available energy supplies at night after solar power is no longer directly available.

As Climate Changes, Alternative Energy Systems Get Close Look

Officials with jurisdiction over about 80% of California’s power grid say the state faces a grim outlook as summer heat, wildfires and a severe drought intensify.

“When you step back, I think many of us are really recognizing now that climate change and these extreme heat waves happening in the earlier parts of the summer now have forced all of us to do things that we really never imagined just a few years ago,” Elliot Mainzer, president and CEO of California’s Independent System Operator, said recently.

First Steps Taken to Make Pumped Hydro Energy Storage Project at San Vicente Reservoir a Reality

With an $18 million boost from the state, a major energy storage project using hydroelectric power is taking shape at the San Vicente Reservoir, nestled in the Cuyamaca Mountains near Lakeside.

The long talked about San Vicente Energy Storage Facility — proposed by the city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority — received the funding earlier this month when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the state budget. The $18 million will be spent to tackle some of the preliminary work needed to make the “pumped hydro” project a reality, such as initial design, environmental reviews and federal licensing.

“We believe the project is a critical component to meeting the state’s needs for integrating renewables” into the power grid, said Gary Bousquet, deputy director of engineering at the County Water Authority.

Gary Croucher-Board Chair-San Diego County Water Authority-Primary

Local Renewable Energy Project Gets Big Boost

I’m so pleased to report that a large-scale renewable energy project proposed jointly by the City of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority received $18 million in the state budget signed this month by Gov. Gavin Newsom. That money will advance the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility through initial design, environmental reviews, and the federal licensing process – a huge boost for a project with a huge upside for the region.

This is one of the most promising pumped energy storage solutions in California, and it would be a major asset to help avoid rolling blackouts through on-demand energy production while helping to meet state climate goals. It also could mitigate costs for water ratepayers across the San Diego region by generating additional revenue to help offset the cost of water purchases, storage, and treatment. The City and the Water Authority are developing the project together, just like they did to raise the height of the city-owned San Vicente Dam 117 feet in the 2010s.

San Vicente Energy Storage Facility project

Upon completion, the San Vicente energy project would provide up to 500 megawatts of long-duration stored energy, which will assist in meeting peak electrical demand periods throughout Southern California and help meet the goals of Senate Bill 100, which requires 60% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% zero-carbon energy resources statewide by 2045. The project will provide enough energy for about 135,000 households when operating.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Gov. Gavin Newsom and Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins for ensuring funding for this critical infrastructure project, which will create more than 1,000 construction-related jobs in addition to its other benefits.

With state funding in place, the Water Authority and the City are preparing to launch federal and state environmental reviews, seek a project license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and issue a Request for Proposals for a full-service private partner to help develop the project. Those complex components are expected to take at least four years, with construction completion forecast for 2030.

Pumped energy storage projects are designed to store excess renewable energy from solar and wind during the day, and then discharge that energy when energy use increases in the evening and renewable energy is not available.

The San Vicente project would create a small upper reservoir above the existing San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside, along with a tunnel system and an underground powerhouse to connect the two reservoirs. The powerhouse would contain four reversible pump turbines.

During off-peak periods – when power is inexpensive and renewable supplies from wind and solar facilities exceed demand – turbines would pump water to the upper reservoir where it would act as a battery of stored potential energy. During high energy use, the system would discharge water from the upper reservoir downhill through the turbines, producing energy. The exchange between the two reservoirs would not consume water.

For more details about the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility go to: www.sdcwa.org/projects/san-vicente-pumping-facilities/