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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.

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