The proposed ~900-megawatt (MW) project will help to address en - ergy storage needs in the western US. It is needed as more renewable energy is integrated onto the grid. The project will be the ideal “water battery” for Wyoming wind energy, which is abundant. This will allow a more efficient use of new transmission infrastructure responsible for delivering that wind power to the market. Our teams will identify and analyze the alternative intake and outlet structure types. We will also identify the location and type of upper reservoir to complete the pumped storage scheme above Seminoe Res- ervoir. After that, we will plan and perform a geotechnical investigation that will support the feasibility design of the underground facilities, identify pump-generating equipment, identify routing for a transmis- sion line that will lead to nearby grid interconnection, evaluate project constructability, and provide an opinion on probable construction cost. The Seminoe Pumped Storage Project is just one example of the work my Company has been working on in the US. In fact, Stantec has de - veloped a global footprint in pumped storage through 57 years of expe - rience working with clients to provide 16,000 MW in pumped storage capacity at new and existing hydroelectric pumped storage plants. In the US, the three most recent pumped storage projects include the 40-MW Lake Hodges Pumped Storage Plant in California, the 1,035- MW Rocky Mountain Pumped Storage Plant in Georgia, and the
1,800-MW Gregory County Pumped Storage Project in South Dakota. Furthermore, we are the engineer of record for the 3,000-MW Bath County Pumped Storage Plant in Virginia—the largest pumped storage project in the world. Heading forward with pumped storage As energy consumers, we might take for granted that at every instant, grid operators are balancing the supply of electricity with the demand. The significant expansion of solar and wind energy pose even greater challenges for these grid operators, who can’t control when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. A very sudden change in supply—like the drop of solar power at sunset—means other generation sources must quickly make up the difference. While it’s difficult for some types of generators to respond quickly enough to keep the grid reliable, pumped storage excels at rapidly bringing large amounts of generation online to fill the gap. That’s why I’m excited to see future developments in the industry. If we hope to successfully combat climate change, pumped storage will need to play a big part.
VIK ISO-AHOLA is Vice President, Power & Dams at Stantec.
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