FERC accepts preliminary permit applications for two reverse osmosis pumped hydroelectric systems

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has accepted preliminary permit applications from Oceanus Power & Water LLC to build two “integrated pumped hydroelectric reverse osmosis clean energy systems.”

These projects are proposed to be located in California, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, one near Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County and one near Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego County.

The proposed project at Vandenberg would consist of a rockfill dam; an upper reservoir with a total storage capacity of 5,000 acre-feet at a normal maximum operating elevation of 1,310 feet mean sea level; two 12,450-foot-long, 11-foot diameter penstocks; an underground powerhouse containing two 75-MW Francis reversible pump/turbine-motor/generator units; a 50-foot-high seawater reverse osmosis desalinization facility located about 325 feet from the powerhouse; two 11-foot-diameter tailrace pipelines outfitted with six 35-foot-long, 11-foot-diameter Johnson screens; a seawater intake/outlet in the Pacific Ocean (the lower reservoir); and a brine concentrate storage lagoon to store during times the project is inoperable or in pumping mode.

A 10-mile-long transmission line will connect the project to the existing Divide Substation. Estimated annual generation of the project would be 415 GWh.

The proposed project at Camp Pendleton would consist of a rockfill dam; an upper reservoir with a total storage capacity of 9,990 acre-feet at a normal maximum operating elevation of 1,230 feet mean sea level; four 9,000-foot-long, 11-foot-diameter penstocks; an underground powerhouse containing four 75-MW Francis reversible pump/turbine-motor/generator units; a 50-foot-high seawater reverse osmosis desalinization facility located about 325 feet from the powerhouse; four 11-foot-diameter tailrace pipelines outfitted with six 65-foot-long, 11-foot-diameter Johnson screens; a seawater intake/outlet in the Pacific Ocean (the lower reservoir); and a brine concentrate storage lagoon to store during times the project is inoperable or in pumping mode.

A 2.5-mile-long transmission line will connect the project to the existing San Onofre Substation. Estimated annual generation of the project would be 830 GWh.

The sole purpose of a preliminary permit is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license application during the permit term. A preliminary permit does not authorize the permit holder to perform any land-disturbing activities or otherwise enter upon lands or waters owned by others without the owners’ express permission.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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