Explore the Issues
By legislating pumped storage plants under House Bill 11-1083, the legislature has tripled the cost of wind energy development in Colorado.
State legislators took Colorado blindly down path of pumped storage without any consideration or anaylsis of the financial burden that their haste will bring the citizens of Colorado. The proposed South Slope Pumped Storage plant for example, will increase the cost of a 360MW wind project from $0.80 billion, up to $2.44 billion. Let's take a look at the math...
Conventional thinking is that pumped storage must be increased as intermittent energy sources like wind and solar increase, because they may not always be available at times of peak electricity demand. Like pumped storage technology itself, this thinking is outdated.
Over 36,000 MW of wind generation have already been added to the US power grid without the need for any new pumped storage. That is nearly 100 times more wind power than the 432MW the South Slope project developers claim is needed for Colorado's wind development.
The Pueblo Chieftain has been running a number of articles making a case for Rep. Keith Swerdfeger and other Colorado politicians that, changes to the state's clean energy legislation are needed in order to fund the South Slope Pumped Storage plant, a billion dollar plus construction project beneficial to their districts. With so much being taken at face value as they rush this bill through the legislature, it might be time to pause and take heed of the assumptions and "facts" put forth in these articles. The claims are not what they seem......
HB 11-1083 is an amendment to a Colorado Statute that encourages development of new clean energy and energy-efficient technologies. That statute creates exemptions that let electric power companies pass the costs of new energy technology development, along with the higher rates for electricity generated by the technology, to Colorado ratepayers. By adding pumped storage plants to this statute, HB 11-1083 simply reclassifies old technology as new technology, crowding out the funds for advanced technologies that the statute was designed to promote.
The US Department of Energy's produces an Annual Energy Outlook on Generating Capacity that lays out projections for both renewable and conventional electric power generation through 2035. This report show no increases in pumped storage capacity are required to meet the the United States' energy strategy.