The proposed Big Chino Valley Pumped Storage Project will use energy storage technology to anchor new electricity transmission infrastructure as an all-encompassing, integrated energy solution to the region’s growing energy needs.

The proposed project involves significant investment to develop a large-scale, 2,000 MW closed loop pumped storage hydro facility, one powerhouse and two reservoirs covering 420 surface acres . The project also includes three transmission interconnections to serve Arizona, Nevada and Southern California. ITC has identified three preferred micro corridors and associated alternative segments for additional study and stakeholder review:

  • Eldorado Corridor: A 500 kV, approximately 145-mile line that connects to the existing Eldorado Substation
  • Peacock Corridor: A 500 kV, approximately 20-mile line that travels west to interconnect with the existing Peacock Substation 
  • Yavapai Corridor: A 500 kV, approximately 50-mile line that travels east to interconnect with the existing Yavapai Station

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How it Works
Pumped hydro storage is a common, proven technology used worldwide to support smart-grid transmission and efficient energy storage and usage. This facility will pump water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir during periods of high renewable generation and/or low electrical demand and store it as potential energy, like a large electric battery. The facility can return the stored energy to the grid on demand by flowing water by gravity through a generation turbine back to the lower reservoir. Transmission lines carry the energy to where it’s needed – presenting an integrated generation and transmission solution for the region.


Engineering_July 2018


If constructed, the project will require one-time in-fill of around nine billion gallons of water from the Big Chino aquifer. Due it its innovative closed-loop design, the project’s operations will result in approximately 925 acre-feet of evaporated loss per year, which is less that the current approximate use of 1,500 acre-feet of water used annually for agriculture on the existing ranch property that relies on the aquifer.

As part of our environmental studies, hydrogeological modeling is also underway with a water work group to assess the extent and impact of the groundwater withdrawal. We are working with this group and other stakeholders to identify potential short-term and long-term strategies to offset these impacts based on sound science – all with the goal of maintaining long-term stewardship of the water and land resources.

Project capabilities and benefits

  • Increases reliability of the electrical grid and regional generation
  • Closed-loop design limits water consumption for initial and ongoing water usage
  • Reduces transmission congestion
  • Fast ramping capabilities and reduced over-generation risk
  • Frequency regulation and improved voltage stability
  • Firming of renewable resources
  • Reduced resource cycling and renewable curtailment
  • Resolves largest WECC contingency in creating a diverse outlet for Eldorado-Moenkopi transmission line in CAISO
  • Presents a near 1-to-1 replacement of any temporary loss of energy capacity from Palo Verde Nuclear Station near Phoenix when partnered with a similar amount of solar energy (e.g. unit trip)
  • Ancillary support for the operational characteristics of the Southwest transmission grid as the region responds to the increased penetration of renewable resources
  • An Arizona State University study estimates the project will generate an additional $5.1 billion to statewide GDP, and 45,871 additional job years of employment over a 25-year period.


Anticipated Traditional Licensing Process Milestones

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved ITC’s request to prepare the project’s licensing application with the Traditional Licensing Process. Over the next two years, in consultation with stakeholders, ITC will design study plans, conduct studies, prepare environmental analyses and develop a draft licensing application – with a goal to file the project’s final license application in 2021.




The Daily Courier Reviews the Big Chino Valley Pumped Storage Project

Oct 03, 2018

Read more here.



The Daily Courier Reviews the Big Chino Valley Pumped Storage Project

Oct 03, 2018

Read more here.