Planning begins on Northern California pumped storage hydroelectric project

GEI Consultants Inc. is providin owner’s engineer services for the proposed Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Iowa Hill Pumped-Storage Development project.

GEI is a member of the Jacobs Associates team for the project. SMUD recently awarded the Jacobs Associates team the Owner’s Engineer services contract for preliminary design and construction services on their proposed Iowa Hill Pumped-Storage Project.

If constructed, Iowa Hill would be a 400 MW pumped storage hydroelectric facility. GEI will lead the design of the 6,400 acre-foot upper reservoir, a lined impoundment that will be formed by an earth- and rock-fill dam with a maximum height of more than 200 feet and a crest length of 5,900 feet.

The design of the dam and reservoir will be under the regulatory authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the California Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD).

The project would use an existing reservoir on the American River, from which water would be pumped up to a new 6,400 acre-foot capacity upper reservoir, where the water would be stored. During peak electrical demand periods, water would flow from the upper reservoir to the lower reservoir via a 1,000-foot-deep shaft through 3,500 feet of water tunnels.

The electric power generated would connect the existing transmission line that connects SMUD’s existing Upper American River hydroelectric project with the district’s customers.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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