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1300 MW Pumped Storage Hydro Project Moves Closer, Developer Eagle Mountain Buys Kaiser Eagle Mountain Mine

The 1300 megawatt (MW) pumped storage hydroelectric project near Desert Center, California, has moved closer to becoming a reality following the recent purchase of the Kaiser Eagle Mountain mine by developer Eagle Mountain from CIL&D.

Th current plan — according to Eagle Crest Energy, the owner of subsidiary Eagle Mountain — is for the old mine site to be transformed into a pumped storage facility to store excess electricity generated by solar energy, wind energy, geothermal, etc.  Two of the vacant iron ore mining pits on site will be converted into water reservoirs linked with an underground turbine system, thereby allowing the generation of electricity on demand.

pumped hydro

“This project would save ratepayers money and help California meet its renewable energy goals in an environmentally friendly manner that protects water resources and wildlife, creates hundreds of jobs and infuses the local economy with millions of dollars,” stated Eagle Crest Energy CEO Doug Divine.

For those who haven’t kept up on the topic of the proposed project, it’s worth a reminder here that the proposal received a license back in 2014, following rigorous environmental reviews via various federal + state agencies (the California State Water Resources Control Board, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service).

Given that, as it stands, over 300 pumped storage facilities are in operation around the world, the technology has long proven itself — and will possibly see a faster buildout in the coming years than in recent years.

“As Riverside County continues to increase its role in delivering renewable power to the rest of California, we need to find ways to store energy for use at times when solar and wind are not generating power. As vice-chair of the Senate Energy Committee, I championed pumped storage as just such a storage solution,” stated Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit. “This project helps make renewable energy sources more viable, and in an environmentally sensitive manner.”

The recent purchase concerns around 9,500 acres of land — of which, around 2,500 acres will be utilized by the pumped storage facility.

 
 
 
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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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