Distributed Pumped Store or Just Hydroelectric Power or Both?

J. Paul Sims, professor at ETSU and TSEA board member has been interested in studying distributed pumped store as part of the integral need for energy storage.  The concept is to run plants at full power during times of heavy demand in anticipation of near term energy needs for hot summers.  No doubt that hot summers like this one are not a fluke.  With a combination of pumped store along with solar, biomass and base plant operations, this may be a less expensive alternative to purchasing outside power.  Now well funded investors are recognizing the investment opportunities in purchasing dams and reservoirs that can be converted to pumped storage thereby adding to their available assets.  Consider the impact of the court decision to upheld the EPA’s authority to regulate green house gases.  Maybe the cost of natural gas fired turbines may not be the best investment if the right of the federal govenment to regulate the public’s health is uphold to a future test by the Supreme court if the electric power companies continue the fight to prevent expensive air pollution controls from being instituted.

The monied investors seem to think that purchasing water containment bodies are a good idea.  So do I.  I am for it IF the resource is managed correctly to take into account any potential environmental damage from the water fluxing.

Take a look at the following article found today knowing that TVA has recently granted leases to some of its stored water bodies.

June 29, 2012

 Source: Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners L.P.  

Cheoah Dam, on the Little Tennessee RiverBrookfield Renewable Energy Partners L.P. (BEP.UN) (Brookfield Renewable) has announced an agreement to acquire, with its institutional partners, a portfolio consisting of four generating stations in Tennessee and North Carolina from Alcoa Power Generating Inc. for a total enterprise value of $600 million, subject to certain price adjustments.

“We believe this acquisition provides a unique opportunity to capture rising electricity prices, and our operating platform and expertise is well-suited to maximize the value of this portfolio over the long term,” added Mr. Legault, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brookfield Renewable..

The Tapoco plants can be operated as daily peaking facilities and benefit from one of the lowest cost of operations in the TVA region, further enhancing their attractiveness and long-term value potential. In 2005, Tapoco was granted a 40 year operating license by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.