Water Authority Explores Hydroelectricity at San Vicente Dam
The Water Authority, in partnership with the city of San Diego, is preparing to assess the potential for a major hydroelectric power project at San Vicente Reservoir to boost the region's local energy supply now that the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is permanently offline.
The proposed pumped storage project could generate up to 500 megawatts, enough power for approximately 325,000 homes. It would require the construction of a small reservoir in the hills above San Vicente Reservoir, along with other facilities.
Power would be generated during peak-demand periods by allowing water to flow downhill in a tunnel from the upper reservoir and turn turbines before entering the San Vicente Reservoir. Water would be pumped back uphill during off-peak periods much like it is at the Water Authority's 40-megawatt pumped storage project that connects Hodges Reservoir with Olivenhain Reservoir. That kind of arrangement allows the Water Authority to generate power when it's needed most and generate revenues for offsetting expenses.
The Water Authority, in cooperation with the city of San Diego, is reviewing proposals by firms that will conduct a study to evaluate the economic and financial requirements of a pumped storage facility at San Vicente. The study will include an analysis of the power market, potential sites for an upper reservoir, regional power needs, and associated construction and operating costs.
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