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On this episode of Grounded, we dive into the hot topic of energy storage, specifically- pumped-storage hydropower. ODOE’s own Rebecca Smith joins us, as well as Erik Steimle from Rye Development, for this fascinating and timely discussion.

Listen at the Oregon Department of Energy Grounded Podcast site by clicking here.

A proposed closed-loop pumped hydro storage facility near Goldendale is again moving forward. The Goldendale Energy Storage Project proposes to store “clean” energy generated by wind and solar projects.

“It’s an old sort of ‘back to the future’ project,” said Michael Rooney, vice president of Project Management for Rye Development, LLC. “We think closed-loop pumped hydro storage is critical to the grid, specifically in the Pacific Northwest.”

Continue reading the article here.

In this episode of the Focus 15, TJ Martinell speaks with Rye Development Vice President of Project Development Erik Steimle about a new clean energy project near Goldendale.

Listen on The Lens by clicking here.

Washington utility providers face two challenges in the near future: finding additional electricity to prevent outages while also complying with state Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) requirements to rely more on clean energy sources—most of which lack storage capacity.

A proposed closed-system hydro pump storage project by Rye Development near Goldendale could help meet both objectives. When completed, the wind-solar-hydro system will be able to generate and store electricity sufficient to power the equivalent of the Seattle metro area for 12 hours. Additionally, the project would boost the local economy during its four-year construction.

A major issue for utilities trying to comply with CETA is that wind and solar can only provide electricity when weather allows for its generation. While a hydroelectric dam is capable of storing its energy, various constraints – including concerns over the impact to salmon migration – make it unlikely that more will be built. There have also been efforts over the years to have existing dams on the lower Snake River removed, action which requires congressional authorization.

The Goldendale project avoids these issues due to its closed-system design. The site uses wind and solar energy, when available, to pump 60 acres worth of water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir. During high demand periods, water is then released back through the pumps and passes through a turbine to generate electricity.

Continue reading the article here.

Learn how pumped storage hydropower works and see how this project will use excess wind power to generate 1,200 MW of clean electricity when residents and businesses need it most.

Watch the news report on KGW.

Washington’s Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck visited Klickitat County Monday at the invitation of Goldendale City Council member Miland Walling. He and his wife, Paula Fruci, got a briefing on the proposed Goldendale pumped storage project from a viewpoint on Highway 14 overlooking the site of the former Goldendale aluminum plant.

Asked for his reaction, Heck replied: “What’s not to like? A project that creates all these jobs, both in the short term, but also on the ongoing basis, and something that creates renewable, carbon-free energy.”

Read the rest of the article at The Goldendale Sentinel.

Oregon and Washington are taking great strides to decarbonize the Northwest Energy Grid, however to achieve their clean energy goals while providing reliable, always-on electricity, the region will need new, innovative energy storage.

And while our national energy labs and smart private sector entrepreneurs are working on increased battery storage capabilities, others are focused on pumped storage projects. These projects pump water uphill when there is surplus electricity and release it to flow back downhill through hydropower turbines when power is needed.

When the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, grid operators and electric utilities will need to rely on proven energy storage technologies to ensure the continued reliable delivery of electricity. Providing 95% of all U.S. energy storage capacity, pumped hydropower is an important one of those proven technologies. And the Goldendale pumped hydropower storage project is precisely the project the Northwest needs to ease our transition into a carbon-free future.

To continue reading the full article, click here.

The Gorge pumped-hydro project will bring jobs and help grid managers increase energy storage capacity

This winter’s weather-related blackouts in Texas, last summer’s rolling blackouts in California, the threat of emergency power shutoffs during our wildfire season—these are all reminders of how fragile our power grids can be. Our national electric grid—which is a huge network of power plants, transmission lines and distribution centers—is undergoing vast changes due to the need to update aging infrastructure and meet a growing demand for emissions-free electricity.

As the Pacific Northwest region’s utilities add more renewable energy to the electric grid, they face a big challenge: how to store excess solar and wind energy so we can use it when we need it most?

Energy storage has rapidly emerged as an essential component to a low-carbon energy future.

To continue reading the full article, click here.

Weather-related blackouts in Texas earlier this year and the rolling blackouts in California last year are further reminders of how fragile our power grids can be.

As utilities go through the process of planning to comply with Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) we must acknowledge we have the same vulnerabilities here. Washington utilities therefore must include robust carbon-free energy infrastructure in their energy portfolios.

Washington state led the nation when Gov. Jay Inslee signed CETA in 2019. This groundbreaking legislation requires that our state’s utilities supply Washingtonians with 100% clean carbon-free power by 2045.

Now our region’s utilities like Puget Sound Energy have just gone through the process of developing integrated resource plans (IRP) that involve planning how to remove global greenhouse gas emitting energy sources from their portfolios and replace them with carbon-free sources of power for utility customers. This is a daunting task and we all must support the utilities as they work through this very complex and unprecedented process. In turn, the utilities must properly consider all available technology to supply Washingtonians with the affordable clean power we need.

To continue reading the full article, visit the Puget Sound Business Journal or click here.

The U.S. Department of Energy, in conjunction with Argonne National Laboratory, released a pumped storage hydropower (PSH) valuation guidebook today that will allow utility companies, project developers, and other stakeholders to accurately weigh the benefits of PSH projects, like the Goldendale Energy Storage Project.

“We’re glad to see this valuation guidebook released, and are proud in our role in helping to provide a test case as to the guidebook’s application to our project proposed for Goldendale, WA,” said Michael Rooney, Vice President of Project Management for Rye Development. “Our project will be key to helping the region meet its energy goals by generating 1,200 megawatts of clean electricity while also storing the region’s abundant wind and solar electricity for use during off peak hours, in a competitive and low-cost fashion.”

In 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) launched the HydroWIRES Initiative to “to understand, enable, and improve hydropower and pumped storage hydropower’s contributions to reliability, resilience, and integration in the rapidly evolving U.S. electricity system.”

Continue reading the press release here.

A massive renewable energy storage facility in the Columbia River Gorge will be built with union labor, thanks to a newly signed agreement between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and two area building trades councils. The proposed project is expected to cost $2.1 billion to construct and will employ over 3,000 workers during a four-year construction period.

When it’s complete it would solve one of the biggest challenges of wind and solar power—how to store electricity for use when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. The Goldendale Energy Storage Project would use electricity from nearby wind and solar to pump water from a lower reservoir to a higher one, later releasing that water from the upper reservoir to turn hydroelectric turbines and generate electricity. It’s a closed-loop system known as pumped-storage hydropower, and projects like it are in development around the country.

To continue reading the article, please click here.

Last summer’s California blackouts and the recent ones in Texas left millions of Americans from all walks of life without power. The aftermath of these blackouts has clearly illustrated that grid operators need reliable energy storage resources to carry the load of increasing demand for renewable energy. Providing the overwhelming majority of the current energy storage capacity, pumped hydropower, like the proposed Goldendale Energy Storage Project, is clearly positioned to meet this unquenched demand for energy storage in the Pacific Northwest.

As the Texas and California blackouts have illustrated, storing energy for when it is needed is vital. Why? Because the frequency of these blackouts will become more of the norm rather than a one-off occurrence if the electric grid isn’t able to store the vast amounts of clean energy produced from renewables.

The United States has made great strides in the deployment of renewable energy like wind and solar. But as ubiquitous as they are becoming in today’s energy mix, renewable resources are intermittent, meaning the electricity they produce fluctuates daily, if not hourly. Or, as Bill Gates noted in 2019, “Wind and solar-powered generation is expanding, but one challenge we face is how to store that energy when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.”

So, what is the solution? Without a doubt, the advancements in lithium-ion batteries as a storage mechanism have been impressive, and will continue to be. But the simple fact remains that pumped-hydropower facilities still provide 95 percent of the current energy storage availability in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Continue reading please click here.

A major trade union and construction council have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with energy investment company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) to work on the proposed Goldendale Energy Storage Project.

The Washington Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO and the Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council entered into the MOU regarding a Project Labor Agreement in the construction of the project, it was announced Friday.

To read the full article, please click here.

CIP acquires Swan Lake and Goldendale, 393 MW and 1,200 MW pumped storage hydro projects located in Oregon and Washington, USA

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), on behalf of Copenhagen Infrastructure IV K/S, has acquired ownership of the Swan Lake (Klamath County, Oregon) and Goldendale (Klickitat County, Washington) closed-loop pump storage hydro projects. The projects were previously owned and in development under a joint venture between Rye Development (Rye) and National Grid.

“At CIP, we focus on teaming with leading developers and making investments in energy infrastructure assets with a high degree of stability in cash flows,” said Christian Skakkebæk, Senior Partner at CIP. “With the long investment horizon of our funds, it enables us to participate in large projects overseeing contracting, de-risking, financing, construction and operation. Pumped storage hydro is a unique and valuable asset class that will be a key resource as the global transition to renewable energy continues to accelerate in states such as Oregon, Washington and Montana.”

Rye will continue to lead development of the two projects until start of construction. Rye is the leading developer of new hydropower at existing non-powered dams and closed loop pumped storage hydro, in North America.

“CIP acquiring Swan Lake and Goldendale is a great fit for completion of the projects,” said Erik Steimle, Vice President at Rye Development. “CIP recognizes the long term importance of new storage infrastructure projects to help harness and store wind and solar energy for meeting peak demand as both Washington and Oregon move toward a 100 percent clean electricity grid, cost-effectively and reliably.”

To read the full press release, please click here.

Rye Development is pleased to announce our agreement with environmental and industry organizations recognizing the importance of new hydropower for integrating wind/solar into the US electric grid to increase the climate resilience of US rivers.

The “Joint Statement of Collaboration” is the result of a diverse range of organizations, companies, government agencies and universities committed to charting hydropower’s role in a U.S. clean energy future in a way that also supports healthy rivers. To rapidly and substantially decarbonize the nation’s electricity system, the parties to the Joint Statement recognize the role that U.S. hydropower plays as an important renewable energy resource and for integrating variable solar and wind power into the U.S. electric grid. At the same time, our nation’s waterways, and the biodiversity and ecosystem services they sustain, are vulnerable to the compounding factors of a changing climate, habitat loss and alteration of river processes. The parties have identified seven areas for joint collaboration. Over the next 60 days, the parties have agreed to invite other key stakeholders, including tribal governments and state officials, to join the collaboration, and to address implementation priorities, decision-making, timetables, and resources.

The Joint Statement was developed under a Stanford Uncommon Dialogue co-convened by Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, the Stanford Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, and the Energy Futures Initiative

To read the Joint Statement, please click here.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced selections for its Notice of Opportunity for Technical Assistance (NOTA) to perform techno-economic studies to evaluate the long-term value of two selected pumped-storage hydropower (PSH) projects. While PSH projects were initially built to balance the electricity system between period of high demand during the day and low demand at night, increases in variable renewable generation have changed how plants are operated and the value they provide to the grid. For example, instead of generating during the day and pumping at night, many plants now change operational modes multiple times per day and are relied on to provide quick ramping or frequency response. Determining the value of PSH under these changing grid conditions is a significant challenge that requires new modeling tools and analysis. These studies will provide PSH developers with improved capabilities to estimate the value of a proposed PSH project and compare financial revenue streams under current market structures relative to the economic value of PSH projects to the grid.

To read the announcement, please click here.

"Klickitat County has already been a leader in energy policy, implementing one of the most advanced policies in the nation to cover the county with wind and now they're looking at pump storage which is a good solution to renewable energy, to have something that would balance it out. So seeing this project today, we want to make sure that the federal government is putting in place what are the rules for projects like pump storage to occur. That's what we're trying to encourage them to do. What are the parameters, what would be the process by which projects like this could be considered, so the county could submit something and have that considered.

As we look at storage, it's going to be a big part of our grid. And the solutions for us in Washington state, since we did pioneer affordable electricity from our hydro system, we can see how important that is to our competitiveness as a nation. The more we have affordable electricity and we keep making investments in energy efficiency, the more the United States is going to produce a lot of jobs and be successful."

Continue reading Senator Cantwell's comments here.

A representative of the British government, three U.S senators, a U.S. congresswoman, personnel from the governor's office and Washington State departments, a full complement of district legislators, commissioners from two counties, and an assortment of highly interested parties met last Tuesday to hear about and provide input on a planned pumped storage energy project for Klickitat County.

The project, with the potential to prime the economic engine of the eastern Gorge, looked a lot closer to reality after the meeting. That project, on the site of the former Golden Northwest Aluminum smelter, has been a long-held goal of the Klickitat PUD. Recently, it has attracted the attention of major players in the electricity market who have both the money and the know-how to finance and construct the facility. Their involvement would take the burden of financing the project off the KPUD.

The idea is both simple in concept and bold in execution. It would involve constructing two 65-acre ponds, one on the former site of the smelter and one at the top of the cliff. Each would hold 7,000 acre-feet of water. During the times when wind blows well, and the many wind turbines in the region generate more power than the grid can currently absorb, the energy would be used to pump water from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir. When the wind dies down, and electricity is needed, water from the upper reservoir can be released through a large pipe, turning a turbine to generate that electrical power as it rushes to the lower reservoir.

Please click here to continue reading the article.

A proposed $2 billion pumped-hydro energy storage project alongside the Columbia River has taken a “small but very important step" forward, as backers termed it, winning a permit from federal regulators to explore its feasibility.

Other similar proposals at the site, 110 miles upriver from Portland, have made it to this point before, then faded away in the face of a tangle of financing, regulatory and energy market issues.

But the project leader this time around, Rye Development believes the rising need for flexible generating capacity on a grid with evermore variable wind and solar provides a compelling rationale for what it calls the Goldendale Energy Storage Project.

The preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission runs for three years and gives the Rye group dibs on applying for a license to actually build a facility.

To continue reading the article, please click here.

A safe, equitable, and environmentally sound way to store and integrate carbon free sources of electricity. Supporting Washington's efforts to meet its clean energy goals.