weather icon Partly Cloudy

Details of proposed energy project shared

Boulder City residents got their first look Tuesday, Oct. 23, night at a proposed energy storage project that would tie into power lines at the Eldorado Substation.

ITC Holdings Corp., based in Novi, Michigan, is studying the feasibility of creating a multibillion dollar pumped energy storage project to supplement renewable energy resources in the Southwest.

The Big Chino Valley Pumped Storage Project would create two connected reservoirs about 5 miles southeast of Seligman, Arizona, that would be used to generate electricity and integrated into energy transmission grids serving Arizona, Nevada and California.

Brian Studenka, director of engineering and policy grid development for ITC, provided an overview of the project to the about 10 people who attended the stakeholder meeting. When built, the reservoirs will serve like a giant battery for energy, especially when demand is high and renewable resources are unavailable, he said.

“There is no certainty,” Studenka said about renewable sources such as solar and wind because the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.

Water for the initial fill of the two reservoirs, about 27,000 acre feet or 8.7 billion gallons, would come from the nearby Big Chino aquifer, said Don Pool, a hydrologist consultant and former employee of the U.S. Geological Survey. It would be taken over several years to avoid adverse effects to the Verde River and the aquifer would be recharged naturally in about a year.

Power generated by the system would be transmitted through a 500 kV power line from the reservoir to the Eldorado Substation in Boulder City adjacent to existing lines, according to the proposal.

Corey Proctor, a manager with ITC, said they expect the line to be within 200 feet of existing right of ways, including where it would cross the Colorado River. The exact placement would depend on property ownership, the existence of critical species habitats and the slope of the land.

The proposed corridor to determine where the lines will be place is expected to be studied next year, said Devon Malkin, licensing manager and senior scientist with HDR Engineering.

ITC is seeking an initial 50-year license for the project from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which could be extended an additional 50 years.

Boulder City resident George Rhee, who said he is in favor of the proposal, questioned ITC representatives about the costs, risks and its effect on the aquifer.

“I think storage is critical if developing solar and wind,” he said of the project itself.

Because the project is in its earliest stages, Studenka said it is unknown exactly who will partner with ITC to share development costs with the exception of Tucson Electric Power, which is a subsidiary of Fortis, ITC’s parent company.

The meetings and studies are part of the initial licensing process with FERC.

Andrew Jamieson, regulatory counsel for ITC, said they plan to submit scoping documents with FERC in December, a draft license application in September and final license application in February 2020. If approved, construction would likely begin in 2022 and continue through 2026.

Studenka, along with other representatives from the company, said the meeting was just one of several opportunities locals will have to hear of or comment about the project.

Resident Valerie McNay said she came to learn about the project because she is worried about energy and water issues. She said she found their presentation interesting.

Additional information and the opportunity to comment can be found at http://bigchinovalleypumpedstorage.com.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Ready for the holiday

Photos by Ron Eland/Boulder City Review

Council still mulling STR bill

The contentious issue of short-term rentals in Boulder City took another detour this week as a set of bills introduced previously were pulled from the agenda for the meeting scheduled for Nov. 28.

JFK assassination: 60 years later

It’s one of those moments in time that those who were around can tell you exactly where they were and the thoughts that raced through their head when they heard the news.

Yapp: ‘Nothing more green than restoring’

Boulder City has a large core of historic buildings and homes, many built close to a century ago and, as owners have set out to restore some of these structures, some of the challenges have been unexpected.

Directing public to BC parking

A popular tourist destination seven days a week, Boulder City can get especially crowded on weekends.

Bridging the gap between police, students

When Boulder City police officer Eric Prunty accepted the job of school resource officer, in a way he had to take a step back in time more than 30 years to when he was in school.

New Mitchell principal excited with what she has seen so far

As a CCSD educator, parent, and resident in Boulder City, I am proud to serve as the principal of Mitchell ES. I have long been aware that we are a great school in a fantastic community, but seeing the daily evidence of it is still inspiring.

Fall family fun

Near-perfect weather greeted those who attended Saturday’s inaugural Family Fall Festival at Bicentennial Park and Wilbur Square.

Eyesore for sale … again

Boulder City residents hoping to see a long-abandoned property on Nevada Way brought back to life were dealt a blow last week when a contract for the sale of the Flamingo Inn Motel fell through just 24 hours before the sale was due to close.