Griffith's pumped storage hydropower bill advances

Stephen Igo • Dec 7, 2017 at 8:30 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday unanimously advanced H.R. 2880, the Promoting Closed Loop Pumped Storage Hydropower Act, introduced by Ninth District Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem).

Griffith’s legislation seeks to streamline the licensing process employed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve closed loop pumped storage projects and to require the agency to stage a workshop focusing on potential opportunities to develop such projects at abandoned mine sites.

“Closed loop pumped storage hydropower is a boon for energy security and job creation. My bill would cut unnecessary red tape that currently accompanies approval of these projects, and I am glad the Energy and Commerce Committee advanced it today,” Griffith said in a statement.

“I will continue to support closed loop pumped storage hydropower as a way to repurpose abandoned mines, provide renewable energy and bring jobs to Southwest Virginia.”

Earlier this year, Dominion Energy filed a proposal with the FERC to develop such a facility in Tazewell County. The company is also studying the viability of using the old Bullitt Mine in Wise County for its potential to be integrated into another possible pumped storage project.

A pumped storage facility basically consists of an upper elevation reservoir that releases water into a lower reservoir during times of peak demands on the power grid, with turbines in between. During periods of low demand, the water is pumped back into the upper reservoir.

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