Lake Elsinore Hydro Project is Back

The massive proposed hydropower project in Lake Elsinore continues … by way of a new application.

After the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in July dismissed an application from Nevada Hydro Company to move forward with the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage (LEAPS) project, Nevada Hydro appealed the decision. Then on Nov. 17, FERC’s regulatory commission announced the company would not receive a rehearing, mainly because the project was ill defined.

But Nevada Hydro is back. On Nov. 29, FERC put the public on notice that the company has once again filed a preliminary permit application. (See attached FERC notice.)

As with the past proposal, the current LEAPS project would consist of building a new “upper” reservoir above Lake Elsinore in Decker Canyon. The reservoir would feature a 240-foot-high dam and a powerhouse with two reversible pump-turbine units. Lake Elsinore would serve as the “lower” reservoir.

Water from Lake Elsinore would get pumped to the upper reservoir at night, then released during the day to power turbines to generate electricity.

The hydropower generated from LEAPS would be harnessed over approximately 32 miles of 500-kV transmission lines that would connect the project to one existing transmission line owned by Southern California Edison to the north, and a second transmission line to the south owned by San Diego Gas & Electric.

Environmental groups and the local community have largely opposed the LEAPS project. Click here to read more about the opposition.

Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District has backed the water-pumping portion of the project, but in July announced it was terminating its agreement with Nevada Hydro after FERC dismissed the company’s application.

With this latest application from Nevada Hydro, FERC is seeking public opinion — but time is limited.

For those who want to be heard, the deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene or competing applications to FERC on the LEAPS project is 60 days from the Nov. 29 date. See the FERC website at www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp for instructions on how to comment, intervene or file. (The website requires registration.)

For those who want to submit brief comments about the proposed project (6,000 characters or less) without registering on the FERC website can do so at www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. (The project/docket number assigned to this case by FERC is P-14227-000.) Comments must be submitted before Jan. 29. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments.

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