A proposed project called the “Walker Lake Pumped-Storage Project” will allow a closed-loop pumped storage hydropower facility on the ancient lake.
On July 10, Premium Energy Holdings, LLC filed an application with the United States of America Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to allow Premium Energy Holdings to construct a pumped storage power plant facility with the capacity to produce 2,000 megawatts.
The project will use Walker Lake as a lower pool with a new reservoir built in the Wassuck Mountain Range to serve as the upper pool. Proposed sites for the upper pools are: Bald Mountain Reservoir, located at 6,500 foot elevation, Copper Canyon Reservoir, located at 5,740 foot elevation and Dry Creek Reservoir at 6,650 foot elevation. The Bald Mountain Reservoir is projected to be a 615-foot-high damn hat is 2,195 foot-long with a concrete headrace tunnel, steel penstocks, concrete-lined powerhouse in an underground cavern holding five pump-turbine generator motors rated for 400 megawatts each and the trailrace tunnel discharging into existing Walker Lake.
The Copper Canyon Reservoir would be a 235-acre upper reservoir with a total storage capacity of 36,266 acre-feet. This reservoir will also have a concrete dam. This one would be 505-foot-high and 6,105-foot-long and would also discharge into Walker Lake.
The Dry Creek Reservoir is an alternative that would be a 105-acre reservoir with a total storage capacity of 21,953 acre-feet at normal operating elevation. It would be built at 775-foot-high and 6,870-foot-long. As the above, there will be concrete vertical shafts, tunnels, powerhouses as well as turbine units.
Walker Lake, which has a surface of 32,120 acres with the ability to store 1.4 million acre-feet. Premium Energy Holdings explained this project would require the building of a new Walker converter station.
The power would be transmitted south to Sylmar Converter Station in the Los Angeles, Calif. area.
The company, via their webpage explains that “Additionally, other electrical utilities in California and Nevada are expected to be interested in the project as a resource for storing and maximizing renewable energy use.”
Walker Lakes’ sister lake, Pyramid is also being looked at for the same use as Walker Lake. That project is called the Pyramid Lake Pumped Storage Project.
Glenn Bunch, president of the Walker Lake Working Group who has been fighting for over 20 years to get water to the lake stated they are opposed to the project as proposed.
“It would remove water from Walker Lake that both Walker Lake Working Group and Walker Basin Conservancy are working so hard to get to the lake. In researching the company, we have found similar projects at Pyramid Lake and several bodies in California,” Bunch explained. “Until it becomes an active project instead of just proposed, there is not much that is needed at this time. We are keeping an eye on it. Currently there is zero benefit to Mineral County.”
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is looking for comments from those affected or concerned. Comments can be filed, 60 days from the publication of this paper to: http://ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Your name and contact information must be included at the bottom of the submitted comment. Mailings can be sent to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20426, include Docket #P-15002-000.