Friday, January 20, 2012

Pumped storage power project proposed for Big Chino

The Prescott Daily Courier is reporting on plans by the Chino Grande Ranch, 40 miles north-northeast of Prescott in the Big Chino Valley to build "Arizona's first closed-loop hydroelectric power facility, which would utilize Big Chino groundwater." As I read it, the idea is to use renewable energy (wind and solar) to pump as much as 17,500 acre feet of Big Chino aquifer water 1,400 feet uphill into large reservoirs. When electric power is needed, water would be released to flow down through turbines, similar to hydroelectric power generation at places like Hoover Dam. The project as envisioned would generate 2,000 megawatts of electricity. [Right, Big Chino water basin]

A 3-year, $5 million feasibility study is being undertaken.

The ranch previously announced plans for a solar energy project that generated heated debate over hunter access to State Trust Lands checkerboarded among the ranches private lands.

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