The Cat Creek Energy & Water Storage Power Station is a large-scale water storage and fully integrated renewable energy Trybrid© project located on 22,300 acres of private ranch land in Elmore County, Idaho. At its centerpiece is Off-Stream Pumped Storage Hydropower (OS-PSH). The Project will pair the existing federal Anderson Ranch Reservoir on the South Fork of the Boise River with a new Upper Reservoir located on private ranchlands. It is located 25 miles north northeast of Mountain Home, Idaho. The Project components include:
The deliberate configuration of multi-technology power generation and dual function storage project provides mutually beneficial solutions to the two major challenges facing the American West as a result of attempts to cope with the effects of climate change. One involves storing water, the other storing electrons. The first has to do with the fact that until recently, snowpack has been by far the most cost-effective and efficient way to store water. Unfortunately, Western snowpack is decreasing rapidly and melting earlier from one decade to the next, leading paradoxically to more widespread and damaging spring flood conditions and late summer drought. The second problem has to do with the fact that the main forms of clean and renewable energy generation to mitigate climate change – wind and solar – are intermittent and need an ever-ready resource to supply power when they cannot. They are incapable of meeting demand for electricity on an around-the-clock basis; the decades-old solution installation of expensive and inefficient natural gas “back-up” and “peaking” plants is subject to volatile fuel price shifts and continues to contribute to carbon and polluting emissions.
The only available, environmentally acceptable, time-tested solution to the first challenge is to store as much early snowpack melt as possible in large, off-stream reservoirs. Similarly, the only available, environmentally acceptable, time-tested solution to the second challenge is to use the water stored to generate electricity needed to balance Variable Renewable Energy (solar & wind) resource supply and demand for it. In turn, the generation of electricity will help defray much of the needed water storage costs for water ratepayers. Western water-storage projects of the 1930’s had the same basic concept at their core. But almost all of them involved interrupting the natural flow of rivers by damming them which had a number of harmful ecological impacts. The CCE Project is Off-Stream, drawing its water during spring run-off from an existing Bureau of Reclamation reservoir, and thus it avoids the environmental costs of dams while nevertheless offering benefits on the same scale.2 The water is cycled between a new Upper Reservoir using power generated on-site by wind turbines, PV solar arrays, and off-site renewable energy resources. Roughly 20% of the water in the new reservoir is dedicated for minimum pool levels for electrical generation. The remaining 80% can be used to store kinetic energy and to supply water as needed to the surrounding area. With a design life of 100 years, it will serve generations to come.
The Project represents a dramatic shift in addressing the increase in flooding and drought conditions, to give surety and integrity of product through transforming renewable energy into reliable energy for the Western transmission grid, and to protect and preserve the local environment in which it is implemented. It also provides significant local employment opportunities, increases the local, state, and federal tax base, and provides ways in which to replenish depleted local aquifers in Southwest Idaho.
Stanley Kocon, President and CEO of Voith Hydro America, the oldest and largest hydro turbine manufacturer in the country, had this to say about it:
“This project will be the most advanced large-scale, fully integrated energy and water storage project ever constructed in the U.S. and we’re excited to be partnered with Cat Creek Energy right from the start.”
Idaho Congressional Representative Mike Simpson responded in kind: “Cat Creek Energy’s agreement with one of the world’s largest hydropower companies is a welcome milestone in this Idaho business’ effort to build its advanced pumped storage energy and water storage project in Elmore County. The project will bring hundreds of good paying construction and operational jobs and other economic benefits to Idaho.”
 The Trybrid technology integrates Variable Renewable Energy (“VRE”) Resources, in wind and PV solar, ternary designed hydro-turbines (“T-PSH”), and Large Volume, Long Duration energy storage (:LVLD”) into a seamless multi-function capacity and energy delivery power station.
 By continually cycling water between its new Upper Reservoir and the much larger Anderson Ranch Reservoir on the South Fork of the Boise River, it also allows for a more efficient use of the water resource. How much more efficient? Using much less water, and with a much smaller environmental footprint, the Project will produce a maximum of 72% of the total GWh annually using only 58% of the nameplate capacity of the iconic run-of-the-river Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River in Oregon.