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Daybreak Power Inc. obtains permit for pumped storage hydro facility near Lake Roosevelt

UPDATED: Thu., July 15, 2021

A developer of gigawatt-scale energy storage projects has obtained a preliminary permit for a $4.9 billion-pumped-storage-hydropower facility near Lake Roosevelt that could create 3,500 jobs.

Arlington, Virginia-based Daybreak Power Inc. announced this week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a permit for its proposed 2,650 megawatt Halverson Canyon Pumped Storage Project, which is north of Creston, Washington.

The Halverson Canyon project, which could be operational by 2031, would use renewable energy to pump water from Lake Roosevelt to create a new reservoir in an upland area above the lake to create a massive battery.

The system would then release water from the new reservoir through turbines and back to the lake to generate more than 10 hours of on-demand renewable energy per day.

The project would connect to the nearby Bonneville Power Administration transmission system to “ensure reliable around-the-clock wind and solar power from Montana and throughout the Northwest,” according to the company.

“Study after study shows we’re going to need massive amounts of storage to integrate high levels of wind and solar, and we need to do it smart,” Daybreak CEO Jim Day said in a statement. “The Halverson Canyon project does that.”

“This project marks a turning point for the Pacific Northwest to transition off fossil resources and onto carbon-free renewables at a scale never seen before,” Day continued.

In June, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation selected the Halverson Canyon project in a competitive process to receive a preliminary Lease of Power Privilege, which allows nonfederal entities to develop electric power resources on federal water resource projects.

A preliminary permit from the regulatory commission doesn’t authorize construction of the project, but provides Daybreak Power priority to file a license application while it studies feasibility and potential impacts of the project.

If Daybreak files a license application, it would be required to consult with state and federal resource agencies.

It would also have to work with the affected Native American tribes before developing the project.

The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the U.S. Department of the Interior expressed concerns about potential water quality, fish and wildlife, cultural and noise impacts from the construction and operation of the facility, according to the regulatory commission.

Daybreak Power said in a statement it’s committed to working with area landowners, the recreation industry, conservation groups and the Colville and Spokane Tribes to wisely develop the storage project.

Daybreak Power plans to file a license application in 2023. The company hopes to obtain the license, offtake agreements, financing and other permits to start construction on the project in 2026, Daybreak said in an email.

Daybreak anticipates the pumped storage project to be operational in 2031, Day added.

Daybreak Power, founded in 2018, has nearly 50,000 megawatt hours of pumped storage hydropower capacity in its pipeline.

The Halverson Canyon facility is Daybreak’s third and largest energy storage proposal.

It also has proposed a 1,540 megawatt Next Generation pumped storage facility near Hoover Damh.

The company also plans to build a 2,210 megawatt Navajo Energy Storage Station near Lake Powell in Arizona.

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