Gridflex plans grid-scale power storage in Oregon
By Lee van der Voo, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
GridFlex would use reservoirs to store energy during times of excessive wind power generation.
An Idaho-based company has applied to build three energy-storage facilities in Oregon. Targeting wind developers and utilities, Gridflex Energy LLC is eying windy parts of the state and transmission corridors.
Grid-scale energy storage has been called the "holy grail" of smart-grid technology. The variability of renewable energy — especially wind power — and the headaches it causes for power supply managers, creates the acute need for a way to store energy during times of high production.
Gridflex is years away from developing its pumped storage ideas, which would store energy by pumping water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir when the power isn't needed on the grid. During the generation period, stored water is released to flow downhill through a turbine to produce power.
Gridflex CEO Matthew Shapiro said his company is seeking permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build three pumped storage facilities in the Columbia River Gorge area and southeastern Oregon, which the company would position for sale to wind developers, utilities, or third-party operators.
The proposals, if approved, would involve building a closed-loop pumped storage facility in Gilliam County with a 500 MW capacity and storage potential of 16,000 MWh; a closed-loop pumped storage facility in Sherman County with a 400 MW capacity and storage potential of 9,500 MWh; and a pumped storage facility in Malheur County that would use an existing reservoir along with a second, to-be constructed reservoir, to create a 500 MW capacity pumped storage facility with storage potential of 15,000 MWh. If approved by FERC, the projects would be permitted individually. Each would occupy between 120 and 200 acres with reservoirs. A powerhouse and transmission line would be located underground.
Lee van der Voo, lvdvoo*at*gmail.com, is a freelance writer for Sustainable Business Oregon. Her last story was on Bonneville Power Administration's struggle with energy oversupply.
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