California's 1,300-MW Eagle Mountain pumped-storage project gets state go-ahead

Desert Center

The proposed 1,300-MW Eagle Mountain pumped-storage hydropower project has been approved by California state water quality officials, paving the way for consideration by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The US$1.4 billion plant would be constructed on the site of a former Kaiser Steel iron ore mine, with water being drawn from three wells on surrounding properties.

The upper reservoir would be located 15 miles away, developer Eagle Crest Energy Co. said, with power generated used to supplement grids in southern and central parts of the state.

HydroWorld.com reported that FERC had issued a final environmental impact statement recommending the licensing of the project in February 2012 after providing a draft EIS in 2010.

The project has sparked controversy amongst some in the region, however, as opponents are fearful the pumped-storage plant will cause water drawdown in the arid region.

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