Planning Begins on Northern California Pumped-storage Hydroelectric Project

May 8, 2014
GEI to provide owner’s engineer services for the SMUD Iowa Hill Pumped-Storage Development Project

GEI Consultants Inc. is providing certain Owner’s Engineer services for the proposed Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Iowa Hill Pumped-Storage Development project. GEI will be a member of the Jacobs Associates team for the project.

SMUD recently awarded the Jacobs Associates team the Owner’s Engineer services contract for preliminary design and construction services on their proposed Iowa Hill Pumped-Storage Project. If constructed, Iowa Hill would be a 400-MW pumped storage hydroelectric facility located near the town of Camino, roughly 50 miles east of Sacramento, Calif.

GEI will lead the design of the 6,400 acre-foot upper reservoir, a lined impoundment that will be formed by an earth- and rock-fill dam with a maximum height of more than 200 ft and a crest length of 5,900 ft. The design of the dam and reservoir will be under the regulatory authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the California Div. of Safety of Dams (DSOD).

The project would utilize an existing reservoir on the American River, from which water would be pumped up to a new 6,400 acre-ft capacity upper reservoir, where the water would be stored. During peak electrical demand periods, water would flow from the upper reservoir to the lower reservoir via a 1,000-ft-deep shaft through 3,500 ft of water tunnels. The electricity generated would connect the existing transmission line that connects SMUD’s existing Upper American River hydroelectric project with the district’s customers.

The team began the geotechnical investigation’s drilling program in December. The drilling program will include a geotechnical exploratory drift (tunnel) from the surface to the proposed underground powerhouse cavern vicinity. The results of the drilling program will help SMUD determine whether the Iowa Hill project site is viable for construction of the tunnels and underground cavern that would house the generating equipment.

The team consists of Jacobs Associates (prime), GEI Consultants, HDR Eng., AF-Consult of Switzerland, Carlton Engi., AMEC, IEC Corp., Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, Stillwater Sciences, Ascent Environmental, Crux Subsurface and Foxfire Constructors.

Source: GEI Consultants