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FERC issues preliminary permit for 600-MW Sweetwater Pumped Storage Project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a preliminary permit to Gridflex Energy LLC to study the feasibility of 600-MW Sweetwater Pumped Storage Project in San Juan County, New Mexico.

The proposed Sweetwater project would consist of a new upper and lower reservoir occupying the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation and Bureau of Land Management Land. The upper reservoir would consist of a 40-foot-high, 9,000-foot-long dam and a 120-acre reservoir with a total storage capacity of 5,000-acre-feet at a normal maximum operating elevation of 6,770 feet above mean sea level (msl). The lower reservoir would consist of a 130-foot-high, 1,700-foot-long dam and a 163-acre reservoir with a total storage capacity of 5,000-acre-feet at a normal maximum operating elevation of 5,685 feet msl. 

The proposed project would also include construction of two 5,000-foot-long, 14-foot-diameter headrace tunnels; a 1,200-foot-long, 14-foot-diameter vertical shaft; two 3,300-foot-long, 16-foot-diameter tailrace tunnels; a 500-foot-long, 80-foot-wide, by 50-foot-high powerhouse housing three 200-MW pump-turbine generators; and a 9.3-mile-long, 345-kV transmission line.

The project would have an estimated average annual generation of 1,051,200 MWh.

Gridflex Energy filed the application in September 2019. The preliminary permit is effective April 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.