The Transcontinental Aqueduct, spur 14: The Wilson Canyon Solar farm and pumped storage plant.

One of the many problems facing solar farms is that they produce electricity only when the sun shines, which is less than half the time, so for the rest of the time electricity must be provided some other way. Historically peak power demands were provided by pumped storage plant, but very few have been built since the 70’s. Peak power is now supplied by natural gas electric plants, which is for now the most economic solution. If we want to get real about reducing our fossil fuel dependence, pumped storage must be looked at seriously, especially when changing our vehicle fleet from gasoline or diesel fuel to electric power source.

Here is spur 14 proposal sketch

Spur 14 is 100 miles long, starting at 3000′ and ending at 4700′

Dam 1 is the White Oaks Canyon Lake. To fill this lake in a year requires Spur 14 to have a capacity of 120 cfs. It will require 190 GWh to fill the lake from the aqueduct.. It has a 2000 feet wide and up to 480 feet high dam, topping out at 5140 feet, and the lake holds a volume of up to 100,000 acre-ft of water.

Dam 2 dams the Pine Canyon dam. It has a 2,200 feet wide and up to 240 feet high dam, topping out at 5,620 feet, and the lake holds a water volume of up to 60,000 acre-ft. Water is pumped from and released to the White Oaks Canyon lake to the Pine Canyon pumped storage via a 2 mile tunnel.

Dam 3 dams the Sitting Bull Canyon well above the Sitting Bull Falls recreation area. It has a 2,000 feet wide and up to 360 feet high dam, topping out at 5,610 feet, and the lake holds a water volume of up to 40,000 acre-ft. Water is pumped from and released to the White Oaks Canyon lake to the Pine Canyon pumped storage via a 2.4 mile tunnel.

How much energy will it generate per day? Dam 2 will release 60,000 acre-ft for 5 hrs generating 45 GWh per day or 9 GW of peak power for 5 hrs. Dam 3 will release 40,000 acre-ft for 5 hrs generating 28 GWh per day or 5.6 GW of peak power for 5 hrs. To again fill dam 2 and 3 will require 17 GW of power from the solar panels. An alternate power would be 4.5 GW of LFTR power plants, generating 4.5 GW of alternate peak power when water is released.

This pumped storage plant will add another 70% to the U.S. pumped storage capacity.

Published by

lenbilen

Retired engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, computer chip manufacturing and finally adjunct faculty at Pennsylvania State University, taught just one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

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