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Closed-system, pumped storage
Hydropower plans

by Jill Aho, Herald and News 3/15/09

   A closed-system, pumped storage project operates on the basic principle that falling water on a turbine can generate electricity. Much like the hydroelectric dams that make up the Klamath River project, elevation change is necessary to generate power by turning the turbines. 

   In a closed system, water is stored in two reservoirs, one at a higher elevation than the other. For most of the projects proposed for study in Klamath and Lake counties, an upper reservoir, either natural or constructed, would be used to store water. When needed, the water would be released into a tunnel that connects to a power facility that houses one or more turbines. After flowing through the turbines, the water is collected in a lower reservoir. 

   The system would be used during peak demand hours to generate and distribute energy into the electrical grid. At night, when demand is low, the energy generated by the turbines would be used to pump water from the lower reservoir into the upper reservoir for use the following day. 

   “They are definitely valuable generating assets because of their operational flexibility, and they’re typically larger-sized in terms of capacity,” said Pacific Power spokesman Toby Freeman. “They’re responsive projects that can be brought online during periods of high customer demand and that’s very helpful in terms of transmission and service reliability.” 

   Pumped storage projects could even be considered an ideal way to generate power. They require no nonrenewable resources, generate no carbon emissions and conceivably could function indefinitely.
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