SONGS closure prompts look into hydroelectric power

San Vicente Reservoir San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station SONGS closure hydroelectric power Southern California Edison SCE San Diego Gas & Electric

The San Diego County Water Authority has offered a request for proposals for a pumped storage hydroelectric power project at the San Vicente Reservoir to help with power supply after the closing of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). The RFP seeks firms that could perform a feasibility study on the economic and financial requirements of a pumped storage project.

The proposed project could generate between 240 and 500 MW. It would require the construction of a small reservoir along with other facilities. Power would be generated during peak-demand periods by allowing water to flow downhill in a tunnel from the upper reservoir and turn turbines before entering the San Vicente Reservoir. Water would be pumped back uphill during off-peak periods.

The initial assessment is expected to cost less than $150,000 and be completed next spring. Construction likely would take at least five years. It would be done in partnership with the city of San Diego, which owns San Vicente Reservoir.

Southern California Edison announced June 7 that it was permanently retiring the 2,200 MW SONGS. San Diego Gas & Electric received 20 percent of its output from the plant.

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