Swan Lake Hydroelectric Storage System Set for Klamath County

This article was published in the April 19th, 2024 Herald and News
Written By: Zak Keeney

The future of Klamath County is surging with energy as designs and all final permitting are complete for Oregon’s first hydroelectric storage system.

Set to be located 11 miles northeast of Klamath Falls, the Swan Lake Energy (SLE) storage project will use two artificial lakes at different elevations to create a closed-loop hydropower pumped storage facility that generates and stores renewable energy at scale.

Three years ago, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2021 which requires electric utilities to provide clean energy by 2040 in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

A crucial piece to create that infrastructure, the SLE storage project will be able to store energy for up to 9.5 hours and release that energy to generate 400 megawatts of on-demand carbon-free electricity — enough output to power roughly 125,00 homes in the Pacific Northwest.

Erik Steimle, executive vice president of Rye Development, said that pump storage is a tried and true method for energy storage. It can store energy for longer periods of time and has other grid benefits such as being the least expensive form of energy storage compared to compressed air or thermal energy.

“Once the system is built, similar to Oregon’s already existing hydropower (dams), you can cycle it time again with very little degradation to the system,” Steimle said.

Pumped storage works by moving water between an upper and lower reservoir. When energy is in high demand, water is released and flows downhill through an underground pipe that is connected to a powerhouse, where it goes through turbines that generate electricity. Water from the upper reservoir is then stored in the lower reservoir and is pumped back uphill when energy demand is low for re-use when more energy is needed. The cycle repeats, continually generating carbon-free renewable electricity like a giant water battery.

The renewable electricity stored at the facility will be transmitted along a 32.8-mile-long, 230-kilovolt transmission line to interconnect with the Malin Substation southeast of Klamath Falls which connects the electrical grids of Oregon, California and Washington.

“With the SLE storage project, Klamath County becomes a critical energy hub for the future of renewable energy infrastructure for the West Coast,” said Randy Cox, CEO of the Klamath County Economic District Association.

To continue reading this article, please visit the Herald and News link here.

Contact Us
Site Selection