SAN DIEGO — The City of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority are planning to develop the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility Project.
The proposed hydro energy storage facility at the San Vicente Reservoir could generate enough energy for about 135,000 households.
How it works is the project would create a small upper reservoir above the existing, city-owned San Vicente reservoir. They’d be connected by a tunnel system and an underground powerhouse.
Water from the bottom would then be pumped up to the smaller reservoir where it’d be stored and eventually released back downwards generating electricity.
The estimated cost is $1.5 billion.
"Who is going to be stuck with the $1.5 billion cost? We are absolutely gobsmacked that they would think this would be possible here," said Diane Conklin, the leader of the Mussey Grade Road Alliance, a conservation group based in Ramona.
"The issue is putting an industrial site on two preserves. That is a terrible precedent to set. It's the wrong thing to do," said Conklin.
However, supporters say it will bring more jobs and revenue, plus provide an essential energy resource to avoid power outages.
If approved, the project wouldn’t be completed until 2030.
"It's important to preserve this land. Under California law, it is a preserve. It is paid for by taxpayers. What they are asking is, 'let us run over you and make money.' It seems insane," said Conklin.