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Project Expects to Help Improve Lake Water Quality, Quantity

The Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage Project (LEAPS) is working closely with local water agencies to study Lake Elsinore and potential positive project impacts, attendees at the 2018 LESJWA Water Summit heard today.

“We believe the LEAPS project is a critical step in solving the questions of water quality and quantity in Lake Elsinore, and by storing renewable energy for when it is needed, we can generate the cash flow to fund studies and projects to improve the lake,” said LEAPS project co-ordinator Greg Kahlen. “We are in talks regarding sources of new water. We need water for a hydro project, but it will be recycled and we will not drain the lake.”

Kahlen explained how pumped storage electrical generation projects work, using inexpensive surplus power to pump water to a proposed reservoir in Decker Canyon, and flowing it back into Lake Elsinore to generate electricity when demand and prices are high. This allows surplus renewable solar and wind energy to be “stored” in the reservoir and used when it’s needed by consumers.

As a new member of LESJWA’s TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Task Force, Kahlen noted his team is excited to see how LEAPS can help achieve the objectives of this Summit. He described how LEAPS is funding expert research into the effects of different water sources on water quality, on water levels, and operational strategies to optimize water quality and lake levels. The study will include 3-D hydrodynamic water quality-ecosystem modeling and Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling.

“While this is substantially the same project we brought forward before, we have a larger team, are more engaged with local agencies, and have a strong and committed financial partner that lets us address many issues, including water purchases,” says Nevada Hydro President Rex Wait. “The electricity market has changed dramatically, with advances in wind and solar technology, California’s commitment to renewables, and the closure of nuclear facilities. This makes a project like LEAPS really attractive to consumers because it will help address supply and reliability issues.”

Founded in 1997, Nevada Hydro is headquartered in Vista, CA. The company develops and permits hydroelectric facilities, specifically large scale pumped storage applications. Nevada Hydro is committed to providing large-scale, renewable energy to Southern California that generates peaking power and provides on-demand balancing during off-peak hours.