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FERC issues preliminary permits for pumped-storage projects in West Virginia, Oregon

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued preliminary permits to two companies considering the development of pumped-storage projects: Freedom Works LLC and Owyhee Energy Storage LLC.

Freedom Works proposes to study the feasibility of the 4,000-MW Ulysses Pump Storage Hydro Project in Grant County, West Virginia.

The proposed project would consist of a new upper reservoir with a storage capacity of 141,000 acre-feet at a surface elevation of about 2,960 feet above mean sea level, created by constructing new dams; a new lower reservoir with a storage capacity of 141,000 acre-feet at a surface elevation of 1,280 feet msl, created by constructing new dams; three 24-foot-diameter penstocks; a 800-foot-long, 50-foot-wide, 25-foot-high powerhouse containing eight turbine-generator units; and a new transmission line to a nearby electric grid interconnection point.

Initial fill and makeup water for the upper reservoir would come from groundwater inputs and the Stony River. Water for the lower reservoir would come from groundwater inputs and North Fork Patterson Creek. The proposed project would have an estimated average annual generation of 17,520,000 MWh.

Freedom Works filed the application for the preliminary permit in October 2019. The preliminary permit is effective Feb. 1, 2020, and lasts for 48 months.

Owyhee Energy proposes to study the feasibility of the 600-MW Owyhee Pumped Storage Project in Malheur County, Oregon.

The project would be located at the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation’s Lake Owyhee (the lower reservoir). The proposed project would consist of a new upper reservoir with a storage capacity of 3,410 acre-feet at a maximum surface elevation of 4,330 msl, created by constructing a 105-foot-high, 1,260-foot-long dam; a 14,100-foot-long conduit connecting the upper reservoir and Lake Owyhee; an underground powerhouse 80 feet long, 280 feet wide and 120 feet high containing three reversible pump-turbine units; and 2.6 or 8 miles of double circuit 230-kV transmission line interconnecting with the Midpoint-Hemingway-Summer Line or the Boardman-Hemingway Line.

The proposed project would have an estimated average annual generation of 946,080 MWh.

Owyhee Energy filed the application for the preliminary permit in September 2019. The preliminary permit is effective Jan. 1, 2020, and lasts for 48 months.

The purpose of a preliminary permit is to preserve the right of the permit holder to have the first priority in applying for a license for the project that is being studied.