Navajo Energy Storage Station 2.2 GW

Navajo Energy Storage Station 2.2 GW

United States

March 2021 - A three-year clock on the initial development of a 2.2-GW pumped-hydro energy storage project on Lake Powell near Page, Ariz., has started following the issuance of preliminary permit by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
The proposed Navajo Energy Storage Station is a massive, 2,210 megawatt storage facility on Navajo Nation lands near the south shore of Lake Powell. The facility would use energy produced from solar and wind plants in the desert Southwest to pump water to a reservoir on the Cummins Plateau above the lake, then release it each day to generate 10 hours of renewable energy that would reliably power cities in California, Arizona and Nevada (Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix) when demand peaks late in the day and through the night.

The NESS project would unlock the potential of renewable energy on Navajo lands and serve as an anchor of economic development as the region transitions from reliance on coal to carbon-free energy resources.

The NESS site ranks among the nation’s most viable and cost-effective locations for a huge energy storage facility because it would utilize the water source at Lake Powell and existing power lines at the retired coal-fired Navajo Generating Station. The project includes a 16-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line that would connect to the existing grid near the plant and from there feed into lucrative power markets in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation identified the NESS site as a location that could offer extremely valuable energy storage at a cost lower than most existing pumped hydro facilities that have provided affordable energy storage for decades. The benefits provided by the NESS storage facility will only grow over time as more and more variable renewable resources are integrated onto the grid.

The permit decision was described as an “important early milestone” but is some way short of kick-starting development – the permit hasn’t been issued yet. If it is, there will still be planning and further permitting hurdles to overcome.

The $3.6 billion project would sit on Navajo Nation lands near the south shore of Lake Powell in San Juan County, Utah.

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