PRINEVILLE, Ore. -- Federal regulators have given an Idaho company the go-ahead to explore building a dam and reservoir in Central Oregon to use water and pumps as a means of storing energy.
The Bend Bulletin reports that the hydropower is seen as a way of balancing cyclical electricity supplies from such sources as wind turbines.
At night, water would be pumped uphill from the Prineville Reservoir into a smaller reservoir.
During the day, when demand is high, the water would flow downhill through turbines, creating enough power for about 30,000 homes.
Boise-based Gridflex Energy says it has about 15 of the pumped hydro storage projects under development in nine states.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has given the company a preliminary permit for a feasibility study at Prineville.