The company wants to use wind and solar energy to pump water from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Anderson Ranch Reservoir into the planned 1,900-acre (770-hectare) Cat Creek Reservoir, could then release the water back into Anderson Ranch Reservoir to generate timely-needed power.
The plan includes a solar array covering about 480 acres (195 hectares) and a wind farm with a maximum of 39 turbines up to 510 feet (155 meters) tall to be built on rolling terrain about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the planned Cat Creek Reservoir.
The company also wants to put floating solar panels on Cat Creek Reservoir, located south of Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
The project, first proposed about six years ago, would mostly be built on private land in Elmore County.
Such systems are viewed as giant batteries because they can hold vast amounts of potential energy for use when needed for the power grid. The systems are seen as possible paths to transition from greenhouse-gas-producing fossil fuels that cause global warming to renewable energy sources that can produce power when the Sun isn’t shining, and the wind isn’t blowing.
In a December preliminary application document, Cat Creek Energy said the project would create thousands of construction jobs and then long-term jobs. The company also said the project would generate more than a billion dollars in taxes and fees. It also said the project included conservation measures to reduce environmental impacts.
However, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission earlier this year rejected Cat Creek Energy’s argument that the project’s impacts would be minor and not have a high level of controversy. As a result, the agency refused the company’s request to use a more straightforward and less expensive licensing process. It required it to use instead a process requiring more in-depth analysis.