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Viability Of Hydroelectric Project At Lakeside Reservoir To Be Studied

San Vicente Reservoir in East San Diego County, July 16, 2014.
Susan Murphy
San Vicente Reservoir in East San Diego County, July 16, 2014.

The San Diego City Council Tuesday unanimously approved an agreement with the County Water Authority to study the viability of a hydroelectric energy storage system at the city-owned San Vicente Reservoir near Lakeside.

The two-year, $900,000 study will build on an assessment conducted last year that found such a system could produce $1-2 billion of revenue for the city over its lifetime.

In March, city officials estimated a cost of $1 billion to construct the storage plant, partly because a second, smaller reservoir would have to be built.

An in-depth analysis is needed to select the optimal size of the project, the most attractive business model, and the optimal strategic positioning for the partnering agencies, city officials said.

According to city staff, the goal of what they call the "pumped water storage project" would be to offset increasing costs of energy and imported water, and help the city meet its climate action plan goals.

A city report says the plan is to create what is essentially a large battery that would be capable of delivering 500 megawatts of power, for eight hours a day, to the grid during periods of high demand.

The council approved the item without comment, as part of its consent calendar.