The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved the construction of transmission line and water pipeline project for the licensed $2.5bn Eagle Crest Energy hydroelectric pumped storage project in Riverside County.
The approval allows Eagle Crest Energy to construct, operate, maintain and decommission a 500kV, 12-mile transmission line and water supply pipeline on BLM-managed public lands near Desert Center, approximately 30 miles west of Blythe.
The generation interconnect (gen-tie) line will transmit electricity from the Eagle Crest’s pumped storage facility to the Southern California Edison’s Red Bluff sub-station located on BLM lands in Riverside County, California.
Additionally, the water line will draw water from an area below private land and fill the reservoirs at the pumped storage facility.
Approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2014, the 1,300MW hydro project will have the capacity to generate clean electricity.
It is expected to create 4,300 jobs during construction phase and 360 jobs annually during operation.
BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Manager Doug Herrema said: “Our public lands provide for a wide variety of uses, including opportunities to facilitate secure, American-generated energy to our local communities.
“This right-of-way is anticipated to transmit hydroelectric energy to power 900,000 homes in California each year.”
Planned to be operated as a closed-loop, pumped storage facility, the Eagle Mountain project will be located on the site of the inactive Eagle Mountain mine in Riverside County, California, near the town of Desert Center.
The project comprises an upper reservoir, an upper water conveyance system, a powerhouse with generating/pumping facilities, a lower water conveyance system, a lower reservoir, water supply and treatment facilities, and a transmission system.
The project will use two of the excavated open mine pits as reservoirs. It will store water in an upper reservoir for later release through an underground power plant to the lower reservoir to produce electricity during peak hours.
The US BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land in 12 western states, including Alaska, as well as administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate in the country.