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FERC’s Glick Says He’s ‘Bullish’ on Energy Storage, Aims to Prioritize Regulations for Hybrid Projects

Amid other regulatory priorities, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Richard Glick would have the agency look into energy storage participation in wholesale markets via hybrid projects with wind and solar, he said on Tuesday during the CLEANPOWER 2022 conference in San Antonio, Texas.

‘We Are Absolutely Gobsmacked That They Would Think This Would Be Possible Here’ | Group Opposes $1.5B San Vicente Energy Storage Facility Project

The City of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority are planning to develop the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility Project.

The proposed hydro energy storage facility at the San Vicente Reservoir could generate enough energy for about 135,000 households.

How it works is the project would create a small upper reservoir above the existing, city-owned San Vicente reservoir. They’d be connected by a tunnel system and an underground powerhouse.

$1.5B Pumped Hydro Facility at San Vicente Reservoir Takes Next Steps, But Not Everyone is On Board

The construction of a proposed pumped hydro energy storage facility at the San Vicente Reservoir near Lakeside recently took a couple of steps forward but the project still needs to clear regulatory hurdles to become reality — and a backcountry conservation group has already come out in opposition to the project.

The city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority have partnered on the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility Project, which looks to provide 500 megawatts and an estimated 4,000 megawatt-hours of long-duration stored energy to California’s electric grid. That’s enough to power about 135,000 households.

Partners Agree to Move Ahead on 500 MW San Vicente Energy Storage Facility

Partners the City of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority will begin negotiations on a project development agreement with the BHE Kiewit Team to develop Phase 1 of the potential 500 MW San Vicente Energy Storage Facility Project.

The proposed project, which could generate enough energy for about 135,000 households, is subject to a full environmental review and regulatory approvals. If the authority and the city decide to proceed after completing environmental review, the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility would provide up to 500 MW of long-duration stored energy to help meet peak electrical demands throughout southern California and help meet California’s renewable energy goals.

San Vicente Potential Energy Storage Facility Project Moves Ahead

As partners, the City of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority will begin negotiations on a project development agreement with the BHE Kiewit Team to develop Phase 1 of the potential San Vicente Energy Storage Facility Project, which could generate enough energy for about 135,000 households.

The proposed project is subject to a full environmental review and regulatory approvals.

San Vicente Energy Storage Facility-storage facility-renewable energy

San Vicente Potential Energy Storage Facility Project Moves Ahead

As partners, the City of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority will begin negotiations on a project development agreement with the BHE Kiewit Team to develop Phase 1 of the potential San Vicente Energy Storage Facility Project, which could generate enough energy for about 135,000 households.

The proposed project is subject to a full environmental review and regulatory approvals. If the Water Authority and City of San Diego decide to proceed after completing environmental review, the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility would provide up to 500 megawatts of long-duration stored energy upon completion to help meet peak electrical demands throughout Southern California and help meet California’s renewable energy goals.

“Reliable, clean source of energy”

“On top of providing a reliable, clean source of energy and helping our City and the state of California meet our climate goals, this project has the potential to create well-paying local jobs,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “I’m proud of the City’s partnership on this project and look forward to it moving though the regulatory approval process to fruition.”

The Water Authority’s Board of Directors on January 27, approved entering into negotiations with BHE Kiewit, along with a $4.6 million contract with AECOM Technical Services, Inc. to perform environmental work for the project.

The Board also approved a $1.6 million amendment to a professional services contract with Black & Veatch Corp. to support project development agreement negotiations, provide technical expertise for a California Independent System Operator interconnection application, perform preliminary design and engineering reviews, and assist with preparing a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license application.

Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher said the Board’s action will help propel the potential project forward by getting started on environmental review and other necessary requirements.  “The San Vicente Energy Storage Facility Project meets multiple goals for the San Diego region, including protection from blackouts and supporting climate-friendly energy sources,” said Croucher. “We’re excited to get moving.”

Phase 1

Phase 1 work includes activities required to complete site investigations, design, and engineering; support state and federal environmental reviews; support the acquisition of a CAISO interconnection agreement; support the acquisition of a FERC license; and collaborate with project partners to achieve commercialization.

Four proposals were received and evaluated for the project development contract. Teams submitted written proposals followed by interviews in December. Evaluators considered each team’s understanding of the scope of work, technical and specialized qualifications, strategies to commercialize the project, and financial capabilities.

Pumped energy storage facility project

The panel unanimously recommended starting negotiations with the BHE Kiewit Team, which includes BHE Renewables, LLC, and Kiewit Development Company. BHE Renewables, LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company. The Water Authority Board today also approved negotiating with Rye Development, LLC, if negotiations with the BHE Kiewit Team are not successful.

California sources nearly one-third of its power from renewables, mainly solar and wind. The target for renewable energy in California is 60% by 2030. Such a major 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, such as the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility, 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 as plentiful.

Energy Storage Process-San Vicente Energy Storage Facility-Renewable Energy

The San Diego County Water Authority and the City of San Diego are partners in developing the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility. The pumped storage energy project at San Vicente Reservoir could store 4,000 megawatt-hours per day of energy, or 500 megawatts of capacity for eight hours. Graphic: San Diego County Water Authority

The San Vicente project would create a small upper reservoir above the existing, City-owned San Vicente Reservoir, along with a tunnel system and an underground powerhouse to connect the two reservoirs. As planned, 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.

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 would rely on an existing reservoir that holds primarily imported water and does not fluctuate significantly from year to year.

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

(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.)

San Vicente Potential Energy Storage Facility Project Moves Ahead

January 27, 2022 – As partners, the City of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority will begin negotiations on a project development agreement with the BHE Kiewit Team to develop Phase 1 of the potential San Vicente Energy Storage Facility Project, which could generate enough energy for about 135,000 households.

The proposed project is subject to a full environmental review and regulatory approvals. If the Water Authority and City of San Diego decide to proceed after completing environmental review, the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility would provide up to 500 megawatts of long-duration stored energy upon completion to help meet peak electrical demands throughout Southern California and help meet California’s renewable energy goals.

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

2021: A Year of Accomplishments for the Water Authority

Looking back over all that we have accomplished in 2021 makes me thankful for the thousands of hard-working professionals who serve our region by ensuring safe, reliable water supplies each and every day.

I’m especially proud of the team at the San Diego County Water Authority – from my fellow Board members to our dedicated staff to our member agency partners – that works on countless complex issues from pipeline relinings to bond refundings. Everything they do is designed to support the long-term health of our regional water delivery system at an affordable cost, even in the face of ongoing challenges like the pandemic and supply chain issues.

This year yielded ample results from our collective efforts. Over the past 12 months, we:

  • Returned more than $80 million directly to our member agencies from rate case litigation that also prevented hundreds of millions of dollars of additional overcharges that would have ultimately shown up on every water bill in the region.
  • Met the region’s need for water as drought worsened across the West while promoting wise use of our most precious natural resource.
  • Crafted a positive, productive relationship with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to collaboratively work on drought response and other pressing issues for the benefit of the entire state.
  • Earned regional and national recognition for our work on climate adaptation, outreach and education, conservation, engineering, finance, and other efforts.
  • Adopted a hold-the-line budget with a 0% percent increase.
  • Secured $18 million in state funds to launch development of the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility, which could play a major role in preventing blackouts, harnessing the full potential of renewable energy, and generating revenue to offset water system costs.

There’s a lot more to our story that you can read in our FY2021 Annual Report. For now, I’ll wish you a wonderful holiday season and look forward to seeing you in 2022.

Happy holidays!

San Diego Looks for Partner to Build $1.5B San Vicente Hydro Energy Project

The project is on the drawing board. Now the San Diego County Water Authority and the city of San Diego are looking for a private partner to build and operate a pumped energy storage facility at the San Vicente Reservoir.

The Water Authority and the city have issued a request for proposal to find a suitable team to develop one of the state’s largest “pumped hydro” projects that would add megawattage and flexibility to California’s electric grid. Proposals from potential partners will remain open until Nov. 3.

Agencies Seek Private Partner to Develop 500-MW San Vicente Energy Storage Project

The San Diego County Water Authority has issued a request for proposals seeking a full-service private partner capable of developing the 500-MW San Vicente pumped energy storage project, planned jointly by the Water Authority and the City of San Diego.

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.