PG&E Pushing for Pumped Hydro Energy Storage
Planned Mokelumne River Pumped Hydro Energy Storage facility to Supply up to 1200 MW
PG&E has requested funding from the state of California for a feasibility study on building a pumped hydro station for energy storage. Pumped hydro remains one of the most cost effective methods of electrical energy storage on a power grid.
PG&E believes their planned pumped hydro facility on the Mokelumne River watershed could supply between 400 megawatts to 1,200 megawatts of stored electricity, which would be ample to support electricity demands as well as help the utility company accommodate variable power sources like wind and solar.
Pumped hydro technology requires that water is pumped uphill into a reservoir, and then later released into a generator to create electricity. PG&E believes it could pump water up into a reservoir during off-peak demand times, effectively storing energy for higher demand peak hours.
PG&E’s project is one of several pumped hydro energy storage plans being evaluated in California. With increasing interest in alternative energy sources, which tend to generate variable instead of steady electricity, utility companies managing power grids are focusing on energy storage as much as on-demand energy delivery. The pumped hydro energy storage plan might be a realistic answer. The potential downside, however, is finding a large enough water supply and avoiding any negative environmental impact at the pumped hydro facility location.