Elsinore water to gin up hydroelectric power

LAKE ELSINORE, CALIFORNIA - For the first time in more than two decades, a hydroelectric plant is being built in Southern California.

Nevada Hydro Co., in conjunction with Morgan Stanley Commodities, has established a limited liability corporation to build a hydroelectric power plant in Lake Elsinore. LEAPS Hydro LLC will build and operate the $1.1 billion Lake Elsinore Advanced Pump Storage project and the accompanying transmission lines.

The project is pending final license approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Construction will begin after both the commission and California grant final approvals, which will happen within the next six to eight months, said Chris Wysocki, a spokesman for Nevada Hydro. Construction of the transmission line that will connect San Diego Gas and Electric to Edison International in Northern California will take about 18 months to complete.

The hydroelectric plant will tie in to the transmission line to provide electricity to the San Diego area. The hydroelectric plant will take three to four years to complete. The plant will be operational in 2011. Construction is expected to produce more than 500 new jobs.

Siemens Power, Transmission and Distribution in Wendell, N.C., will build the hydroelectric plant and the transmission line. Once the hydroelectric plant is operational, it will require 20-30 full time employees. The plant will create power by recycling water between Lake Elsinore and an upper reservoir located in the Cleveland National Forest.

LEAPS will be ready to generate 500 megawatts on a moment's notice by releasing water from an upper reservoir in Decker Canyon into Lake Elsinore, Nevada Hydro Vice President Rex Wait said in a release. The water will be pumped back into the reservoir during times when power demand is low. The hydroelectric facility will deliver energy during high-demand periods.


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