The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has expressed aims to build a pump station and pipeline at California’s Hoover Dam in order to boost the capacity of the 80-year-old facility.
At the moment, the Hoover Dam, which produces hydroelectric power and is one of the largest plants of its kind in the country, only operates at about 20% of its potential capacity so the LADWP is looking into how it can become a more efficient source of renewable energy.
The department is planning a project worth $3bn and will construct a pipeline through the dam, as well as a pump station located down the Colorado River, powered by excess solar and wind energy.
Reiko Kerr, senior assistant general manager of LADWP, said: “We’re trying to look long-term for how we integrate higher levels of renewables. It runs at a very low capacity factor at about 20% which means there’s a lot more water you can run through to produce energy.”
Solar and wind power will be used to pump water back up to Lake Mead, which the dam blocks off, to be stored until it is needed to produce power.