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River Groups Call ‘Climate Denial’ on Pumped Hydro Project

Climate change makes Lake Powell unreliable source of renewable energy

March 16, 2020

Save The Colorado and WildEarth Guardians have moved to intervene in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) preliminary permit process for the “Navajo Pumped Storage Hydropower Project” on Lake Powell, a proposal to build a $3.6 billion hydropower station above Lake Powell that pumps water up from the Lake and then runs it back down into the Lake through hydropower turbines to generate electricity.

The massively expensive project, proposed by a private corporation called Daybreak Power, would rely on the future stability of Lake Powell and the Colorado River at the exact time that climate scientists predict that the Colorado River’s flows will continue to decrease, and the exact time that water managers struggle to implement a highly speculative and expensive “drought management plan” to stabilize Lake Powell.

“Our warming climate is predicted to diminish Colorado River flows 20 percent through the course of the century,” said Jen Pelz, Wild Rivers Program Director at WildEarth Guardians. “These schemes to save-the-planet by pumped hydropower are not the answer when a water crisis is just around the corner and other renewable options, like solar, are more economical and available.”

Read the press release.

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