Pumped storage is currently the most efficient method of energy storage available. The system requires two adjacent reservoirs at differing elevations and a reversible pump‐turbine unit. Energy is used to pump water to the upper reservoir; water is released to the lower reservoir through the turbines when energy is needed. Unlike traditional pumped storage projects, closed-loop pumped storage does not use natural bodies of water. Water is recycled between two man‐made reservoirs in a closed-loop system and as a result, water resources and environmental impacts are minimal.
Due to the intermittent nature of wind, pumped storage is an ideal tool for wind integration. Renewable electricity can be used to pump water to the upper reservoir; this water can be released when energy is needed to stabilize the grid or meet variable peaks in demand.
Using three reversible pump‐turbine units, the project will have the capacity to deliver 300-400 megawatts of electricity. Approximately 30 miles of transmission line will be constructed to interconnect to the COIRound Mountain #2 line on PacifiCorp’s system.
The Swan Lake North project will stimulate the local economy in a variety of ways. According to an Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis conducted by ECONorthwest, 3,363 full-time-equivalent jobs will be created during the 14-year construction period; 30+ jobs will be supported annually during the 45-year operation period. Klamath County will also benefit from substantial property tax payments estimated to be an approximate $2.1 million increase per year in county tax revenue.