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Swan Lake project should be for water storage

  •  for Herald and News 3/7/19

Why is the Swan Lake North Pumped Storage Project being proposed? Not a single watt of energy will be created, but it will lose power due to inefficiencies.

This project will buy power during abundant, cheaper power generation times (sunny, windy, cool) to pump water to the upper reservoir. It will generate power during high demand, costly times (nighttime, cloudy, no wind, hot) by running water to the lower reservoir.

Since power must be used instantly when created, and windmills and solar panels create extra power, the generators in dams are often shut down during sunny, windy times. The project will capture this wasted water power bypassing the dams. The real reason for the project is sporadic, expensive, renewable energy. The project is here because of its proximity to the Malin PBA substation, the grid connection.

Selling the additional power to the grid during shortages, combined with price increases during high demand, will pay for the project. Smart meters can record power use each minute so consumers could be charged with varying prices throughout the day.

If such a project is in our future, let us ask for something bigger that will benefit the Basin. We desperately need more water storage to satisfy the needs of agriculture and the tribes. A larger, elevated basin (Long Lake Valley?) could have water pumped into it in the wet season and low cost power times. The reservoir water could run generators during power shortages and provide for agricultural irrigation during the summer.

Demand that this project become a solution for the Basinís water needs in addition to power storage. The perfect example is Banks Lake connected to the Grand Coulee Dam. It is used for power storage from the Columbia River and irrigates the Columbia Basin.

Tim Plass, Merrill, Oregon



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