San Diego May Build 500 Megawatt Hydroelectric Plant

The San Diego County Water Authority and the City of San Diego are considering building a 500-megawatt hydroelectric power plant to offset shuttered nuclear power capacity.

The proposed project would increase the amount of water in the San Vicente Reservoir and would be completed after more than five years, the public agency said today in a statement.

The new plant would help make up for the capacity lost when Edison International (EIX)’s Southern California Edison decided to permanently close the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station that closed in January 2012, Frank Belock, a deputy general manager at the Water Authority said today in an interview.

It would be the Water Authority’s second plant to pump water up into the reservoir from a smaller one below, mainly at night when power rates are low, he said.

The Water Authority has put out a request for proposals to do an economic and financial study that should cost less than $150,000 and determine the project’s cost and the best ownership structure.

Since it’s primarily a power project outside of its water expertise, “we’re open to all considerations,” Belock said, including as a public-private partnerships with energy companies.

The Water Authority’s first plant is a 40 megawatt pumped-storage project that connects Hodges Reservoir with Olivenhain Reservoir. Most of the state’s hydroelectric facilities are located in the northern half of the state, according to a California Energy Commission map.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ehren Goossens in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at

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