Pumped Storage Hydropower is deployed around the world to move water to a higher elevation so that it can be released to generate electricity when it is needed. CCEW fractures this single purpose by creating PSH with a dual focus. It will help the West reach clean energy goals and its technology will help secure additional new water storage for the Treasure Valley. 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 to more widespread and damaging spring flood conditions and longer late summer drought.
The only available, environmentally acceptable, time-tested solution to the first problem is to store as much early snowpack melt as possible in large, off-stream reservoirs.
The big Western water-storage projects of the 1930’s had the same basic concept at their core. But almost all of them involved damming rivers and had a number of harmful environmental impacts. The CCE Project is off-stream, drawing its water during spring run-off from an existing Bureau of Reclamation reservoir, and thus avoids the environmental costs of dams while nevertheless offering benefits on the same scale. It is also entirely privately funded. The water is pumped to a new reservoir using power generated on-site by wind turbines and PV solar arrays. Roughly 20% of the water in the new reservoir shall be used to generate electricity through water turbines. 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 thus represents a dramatic step forward in the on-going effort to deal with the projected increase in flooding and drought conditions, to integrate fully deliverable renewable energy into reliable utility grids, and to protect and preserve the local environment in which it is implemented. It will also provide significant local employment opportunities, increase the local and state tax base, and replenish presently diminishing aquifers in Ada and Canyon Counties.