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Griffith hydropower bill passes House

Stephen Igo • Sep 16, 2018 at 8:00 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Legislation sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, streamlining procedures to approve closed loop pumped storage hydropower projects and included in a larger waterways improvement piece of legislation, passed the House of Representatives on Thursday.

“Closed loop pumped storage hydropower is a technology with great promise for Southwest Virginia. Abandoned mines would provide the infrastructure, construction at the location of the facilities would create jobs, and the completed projects would provide clean, reliable energy,” Griffith said in a press release.

Closed loop pumped storage hydropower is a system of a higher- and lower-elevation dams. During periods of peak demand for electricity, water stored in the upper reservoir is released via pipes to the lower reservoir with turbines located at the lower discharge point. The water is pumped back up to the higher elevation reservoir during low-demand periods.

A closed loop pumped storage project is currently being pursued by Dominion Energy in Tazewell County, as well as an assessment of a potential site in Wise County.

“My legislation streamlines federal permitting to prevent red tape from obstructing the benefits of closed loop pumped storage hydropower projects,” Griffith said. “I am glad the House supported it as part of a larger package to improve America’s water infrastructure, and I look forward to Senate action and the president’s signature soon.”

The Promoting Closed-Loop Pumped Storage Hydropower Act is included as part of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 as agreed between the House and Senate.

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