Letter: Hydroelectric idea not economically sound


I have been reading with interest about a proposed hydroelectric plant. For the layman an acre-foot is an acre covered with 1 foot of water. The estimate of evaporation would cover 1 square mile with 2 feet of water. Similar areas of Northern California have an evaporation 6 feet average annually. This is with standard evaporation pans located 3-4000' elevation on streams or reservoirs and annual precipitation of 5-10 inches.

PG&ECo has a similar project located on Kings River consisting of a large reservoir, a tunnel, generating/pumping plant, and after bay. This plant is used as a peaking source during the peak demand hours of the day. Peaking power is worth much more than base load. To make this economical a high voltage transmission line was built from the nuclear plant on the coast to the pump-storage project. Power from the nuclear plant is used during the low demand during the wee hours of the night when excess power is available very cheap to pump the water back to the upper reservoir.

Cannot imagine how this local project could be economical. What a terrible waste of water evaporation in an area that desperately needs more water for future growth. Hope this is not a political EARMARK or public grant.

Bill Love

Retired Hydro/Electric Engineer