Baseload, Hydropower, News

Reclamation seeks proposals to develop pumped storage at Lake Roosevelt

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation is seeking proposals to develop pumped-storage hydroelectric power using Lake Roosevelt in Grand Coulee, Wash.

Lake Roosevelt, impounded by Grand Coulee Dam, is the main storage reservoir on the Columbia River for the U.S. The reservoir is lowered in the spring, to make room for the spring runoff and prevent flooding on the lower Columbia River. Operation of Grand Coulee Dam requires the release of water from Lake Roosevelt through the dam for power generation. The project has a capacity of 6,809 MW.

The proposed pumped storage project request – to be developed through the Lease of Power Privilege process or LOPP — involves a powerhouse, substation and underground tunnels. The potential generating capacity of the project was not discussed. Due to its nature, the project is subject to the dual jurisdiction of Reclamation and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Reclamation’s authority is for Lake Roosevelt, while FERC has retained its authority over features outside of Lake Roosevelt.

An LOPP is a contractual right given to a non-federal entity to use a Reclamation asset (e.g., dam or conduit) for electric power generation consistent with Reclamation project purposes. The process allows non-federal entities to develop electrical power resources on federal water resource projects. LOPP projects must not impair the efficiency of Reclamation’s power generation or delivery of water, jeopardize public safety, or negatively affect any other Reclamation project purpose.

“Reclamation is committed to facilitating the development of non-federal hydropower on Reclamation projects,” said Regional Director Lorri Gray. “We encourage interested parties to review the requirements and submit a proposal if interested.”

Proposals for Lake Roosevelt must be submitted by Jan. 28, 2021.

Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the U.S.