Diamond Valley Lake Reservoir new energy source for state

spectr17

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Pumping Up The Power

Reservoir new energy source for state

ANDREW SILVA, San Bernardino Sun

http://63.147.65.31/default.asp?puid=3936&...&article=on

HEMET The state's newest reservoir on Wednesday became its newest hydroelectric plant after engineers converted four huge pumps to perform double duty as generators.

Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet, dedicated in March 2000, includes the Hiram W. Wadsworth Pumping Plant with a dozen 6,000-horsepower pumps for moving water from the Colorado River and Northern California into the giant reservoir.

A year ahead of schedule, four pumps have been converted to produce 13 megawatts of power, enough to supply about 10,000 homes. By next year, all 12 will be converted at a cost of about $4.5 million and will be able to produce about 40 megawatts of power.

The electricity will be sold to the California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state's strapped energy grid, and could wind up anywhere in the state.

It's the first new hydroelectric capacity to come on line in California in six years, Metropolitan Water District officials said.

But the primary purpose of the lake, with an 800,000 acre-foot capacity, which makes it larger than all other Southern California reservoirs combined, is to provide emergency water storage for use during drought or after an earthquake.

"Today we're going to be showing you a different reason for the use of Diamond Valley Lake," said Phillip Pace, board chairman of the MWD, which built the lake and will cover the $4.5 million conversion cost.

The state was in a Stage 2 power alert Wednesday, and the hot summer months are expected to make the power crunch even worse.

"Unfortunately, we can't generate a huge amount of power from this facility, but every little bit helps," Pace said.

The MWD has put a small dent in the energy drain by shutting down its huge pumps on the Colorado River Aqueduct during shortages, which can save 150 megawatts at a time.

ISO officials are happy for every electron they can get. During peak periods, the state needs more than 36,000 megawatts.

"Thirteen or even 40 megawatts doesn't sound like a lot, but each megawatt can power 750 homes, so that's a significant amount of energy that's available," said Gregg Fishman, an ISO spokesman.

Inside the cavernous pump house at Diamond Valley Lake, with a crush of TV cameras around him, Pace stood against a control panel and pushed a button. Water on the other side of the 285-foot-high dam above the pump station began moving.

In a few seconds, the sound of water roaring through a huge pipe was followed by a rumble, a hiss and then an accelerating deep whine as the 50-foot-long, 8-inch-wide steel shaft of the pump began spinning to produce electricity.

Given that there's no physical difference between a motor and a generator, making the change from power-guzzling pump to power-producing generator involved mainly software modifications. Engineers were enthusiastic about the project.

"You don't usually get a chance to have a job that's right at the cusp of what's happening in the state," said Bill Watson, start-up manager at the reservoir.

The pump house was designed with the potential for power production, but the modifications were accelerated as the gravity of the power crisis became apparent during the winter, officials said.

"The capability to generate power was part of the original planning," said Eddie Rigdon, assistant manager of water system operations at the lake.

The water rushing out of the reservoir to spin the generators will be sent to water agencies in Riverside and San Diego counties.
 

rusman66

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Makes me proud to be an mwd employee. If they would have called them generators from the start they would still be fighting with the powers that be.
Now if they would only let us fish Lake Mathews!

Oh yeah and just for the record, I read Jim Mathews article on his outing at Lake Mathews last week. I too have fished the Lake and did not do to well. And it is true that they have applied a lot of copper sulfate to the lake. But he blames his lack of fish on timeing or the lack of fish in the lake. The same day I and most everyone else caught very little. There  was a professional named Hines who caught somewhere in the neighborhoods of 35 bass.
A lot to be said for skill.
 

gordon

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I heard they were going to open up Mathews.. Is it open to all or just the chosen few ??? The reservior will be great fishing as well....
 

rusman66

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I do not think they will open Mathews (ever)
the dfg does a catch and transplant but you do need to be one of the "chosen few"
 

QALHNTR

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Does anyone know if there are any arial photos of the lake when it was empty?  Might help out in the opening months to have a head start on the underwater structure or lack thereof.
 

Fubar

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QALHNTR   The way I undrstand the program, there will be no gas motors allowed on the lake. As this is going to be a giant lake I dont understand how people are going to be able to fish from boats very far from a marina. If the wind comes up on that huge lake you will be at the mercy of some pretty big waves without a motor. Does anybody know what the regulations are going to be?            Fubar
 

knowshorts

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Fubar,

That is the first time I ever heard about the gas motor thing.  That would be interesting.

Qalhntr,

I don't know about aerial photos, but from what I saw before they started filling the lake, they left a lot of construction trash in piles to form reefs.  The DFG was out with their GPS's mapping these reefs and as they were exiting the gates, fisherman were lined up offering anything and everything for the coordinates.

I believe a week or 2 ago in mathews column, people were fishing the reservoir and were reporting awesome fishing.  If that is the case, I can't wait.

Mike
 

QALHNTR

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I read Matthew's column in WON & the Fish & Game biologist reported tremendous growth on the bass.  All I could find online was resevoir capacity chart.  Just planning for the future.  

Maybe Saturn/GM will come out with an EV-1 bass boat so we can fish in a politically correct manner.  I'm sure the DFG will have a 150 HP two-stoke on their boat (like Lake Dixon).
 

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