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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This sort of straddles SoCal and NorCal. And I'm not sure how much people ride in this area. But.....

There is a new proposal in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve a massive pumped storage hydro project mostly on federal land in the Inyo National Forest, partly in the John Muir Wilderness area.

It would be something like 5200 MW and involve a serious of dams and reservoirs (and related pipes, pumps, power house, etc.). So really massive.

According to the article in the SF Chronicle, people ride there. And people definitely hike, camp, fish, etc. out there, so I thought people might want to know.

It's at the very early stages; but you might want to keep an eye on it, pro or con.

SF Chronicle article: https://www.sfchronicle.com/science...al-in-Sierra-Nevada-stirs-debate-13839661.php

FERC filing (Docket No. P-14984): https://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/opennat.asp?fileID=15203824

bob
 

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^^^ One of the options would dam Lower Rock Creek Canyon and flood Lower Rock Creek Trail.

That's not the only hydro project being proposed. There is another above Lake Elsinore on Cleveland National Forest land. Not sure how new/old the proposal is or what stage it is at. But this one also just came to my attention recently. Leaps Hydro - Power from nature

I would expect more of these in the future. California has pledged to be on 100% renewable energy by 2050 or so. That power is going to come from somewhere. Unfortunately wind farms, solar farms, and hydro dams also have a massive effect on the environment. And since they mostly have to be done on public land outside of Wilderness where our bike trails are, lots of these projects will impact trails directly, if not ruin the views from our trails.
 

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Thanks for the heads up. Before I clicked on the link I never expected it to be that specific area. If anyone has driven up to Mammoth via 395 this is the beautiful scenic outlook on the left as you're driving up the grade for the last 45 minutes before reaching Mammoth. The whole Eastside isn't that popular for mtb but this cuts over the most popular Eastside mountain bike trail- Lower Rock Creek. Aside from that this would be a tragedy for the whole area. I've hiked on/off all the backcountry trails and lakes where they are proposing the reservoirs, and spent a lot of time camping and climbing in the Rock Creek and Pine Creek areas. This area is wildly popular for any type of outdoorsmen, and aside from visitors I wonder how those with homes on Pleasant valley damn road feel about this proposal?
 

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holy crap, that would suck. Lower Rock Creek is one of my favorite trails.....

Maybe they should fix all the aging and defunct damns that exists before they start building new ones????? Just a thought.
 

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How could they possibly build in designated Wilderness areas when machinery isn't allowed is said Wilderness area? :nono:
Executive branch approval= Pump by Trump

Section 4 of the Wilderness Act of 1964 asserts, "there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area."

Special Provisions Section 4(d) "The President may, within a specific area and in accordance with such regulations as he may deem desirable, authorize prospecting for water resources, the establishment and maintenance of reservoirs, water-conservation works, power projects, transmission lines, and other facilities needed in the public interest, including the road construction and maintenance essential to development and use thereof, upon his determination that such use or uses in the specific area will better serve the interests of the United States and the people thereof than will its denial."
 

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Highly doubtful that this will ever become a reality.
There are so many tree hugging, save the sagebrush, protect the rare 3 nutted ground squirrel, mountain bikes are bad, hateful old hikers around here that this will be tied up in the courts for the rest of human time on earth.
Enviro groups are already throwing up road blocks.
Sierra Club is doing the work. Apparently they hate mountain bikes and hydro pumping/dams.
Win win?
 

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holy crap, that would suck. Lower Rock Creek is one of my favorite trails.....

Maybe they should fix all the aging and defunct damns that exists before they start building new ones????? Just a thought.
Yes, and when you said "all" it means ALL the dams in San Diego county. They are all in various degrees of disrepair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That's not the only hydro project being proposed. There is another above Lake Elsinore on Cleveland National Forest land. Not sure how new/old the proposal is or what stage it is at.
(Please see my next post also.)

LEAPS has been around for a while. Most recently the California ISO included it in their transmission planning studies to see if it would qualify for transmission cost allocation (for the developers a more secure way to get funding to build). It was not chosen, finding that the costs outweighed the benefits.

There are also a few other pumped storage projects being proposed by this same developer (of the first project, not LEAPS). I believe they are all smaller and would piggy-back on existing systems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'll note for full disclosure that I work for FERC, but not in hydro licensing. So I have nothing to do with the approval of this project. I do not speak for the Commission, nor any of the individual Commissioners, nor any other members of staff. I'm just doing this to provide info.



And since there is some interest in the topic, I will follow up with this snippet from an industry source. This is possible state action that would attempt to force through a (few) large pumped-storage hydro project(s). The intersection of state policies and how those policies impact Federal jurisdictional markets (i.e., CAISO's markets) is always a tricky one.


S&P Global Platts
May 14, 2019
Experts differ over value of pumped hydro, as California lawmakers mull bill
By Mark Watson

"As California lawmakers debate legislation ordering the California Independent System Operator to procure 2-4 GW of long-duration bulk energy storage, industry observers differ over a recently released white paper touting the advantages of pumped hydro storage over batteries.

"The California Senate Appropriations Committee will conduct Thursday a hearing about SB 772, “long duration bulk energy storage: procurement,” which would require the ISO “to complete a competitive solicitation process” by June 30, 2022, “for the procurement of one or more long duration energy storage projects” with combined capacity ranging from 2 GW to 4 GW.

"The bill defines a “long duration bulk storage project” as a grid-connected resource that can continuously discharge at its capacity for at least eight hours, can cycle through discharge and charge states daily, with at least 400 MW of capacity, with “a minimum useful asset life of at least 40 years.”"

and there is more that I did not copy.
 
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