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Rye Development Signs Groundbreaking 100% Hydropower Deal to Power Data Centers

Rye Development is pioneering a new type of renewable energy agreement that supports 24/7/365 carbon-free power for Iron Mountain Data Centers. The groundbreaking offtake agreement – the first of its kind in the hydropower industry – will speed the development of more than a dozen low-impact hydroelectric projects in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia over the next decade and help Iron Mountain move closer to achieving its sustainability goals.

Unlike a typical power purchase agreement (PPA) — where a buyer agrees to purchase energy from a single renewable energy project for a set period of time — Iron Mountain has agreed to purchase up to 150 megawatts (MW) of power over the next 10 years from several of Rye Development’s low-impact hydroelectric projects in the PJM wholesale electricity market.

Read More Emsworth Backchannel Lock and Dam, Pittsburgh

New deal unlocks $1B in hydropower construction in the Pittsburgh region

Rye Development, which owns the rights to build hydroelectric power stations at sites all over the Pittsburgh region, on Tuesday announced an agreement with Iron Mountain that will lead to the construction of $1 billion in hydropower projects on the Ohio and Monongahela rivers.

Rye has long wanted to use the options it has to build near other existing locks and dams, but had been seeking new customers due to the fact that it waits until it has locked in long-term power contracts. That's the case and in a big way with the Iron Mountain renewable power agreement, which calls for the data storage company to buy as much as 150 megawatts of power for 10 years.

"This agreement covers the balance of the projects we have in Pennsylvania and West Virginia," Rye CEO Paul Jacob told the Business Times.

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Hydropower in the U.S.: Why We Should Give A Dam

On March 2, 2023, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a plan to invest $3.7 million to expand collaboration on the sometimes competing goals of maintaining hydropower as a key source of renewable energy while supporting communities and protecting the environment. The project will be led by the nonprofit organization American Rivers. Those of us more accustomed to reading about solar or wind-generated renewable energy projects, may have questions: Why hydropower? Why social engagement? Why now?

Hydropower provides approximately one-third of all renewables-generated power. Alejandro Moreno, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, says, “Incredible work is underway across the U.S. Department of Energy to make progress toward the nation’s goals of a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 and a net zero emissions economy by 2050.”

The benefits of hydropower include reliability, flexibility, 24/7 operating capacity that is not dependent on sun or wind and, critically, storage. Pumped-storage projects generate 93 percent of all utility-scale storage by flowing water from a high reservoir to a low reservoir during peak demand times. At low demand times, the water is pumped back up for reuse.

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NHA Small Hydropower Council Monthly Member Call

Success stories, best practices and/or lessons learned for pre-/early development of small hydro projects.

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To Store Renewable Energy, Some Look to Old Mines

Pumped storage could help solve one of the biggest hurdles in renewable energy -- that solar and wind farms don't always produce electricity when it is needed. Governments so far have provided the lion's share of funding to assess how mines can be transformed into pumped storage, but investors appear increasingly eager to make investments that support the energy transition away from fossil fuels.

Mining and hydropower-development companies counter that repurposing mines is less costly than building new reservoirs. They also argue that converting sites to pumped-storage plants could give investors an economic incentive to end mining operations responsibly, and that cash from new energy operations could help pay to improve the surroundings.

Another reason to go with pumped storage, these companies say: For communities that have relied heavily on mines, often in rural or remote areas, the projects could ensure some local jobs and revenue remain after mining ceases.

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Pittsburgh’s new construction adds hydropower, Strip District housing and a Pitt rec center

You don’t have to build the Hoover Dam to get power from water.

Instead of building giant dams, Rye Development and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will take advantage of some that already exist: the Montgomery Lock and Dam (Beaver County), Emsworth Lock and Dam (near Neville Island) and Allegheny River Lock and Dam #2 (near the Highland Park Bridge). These three projects have moved into the final engineering, procurement and design stages.

The projects, which will break ground next year, will cost $250-$300 million and create 150 to 200 construction jobs. The concrete structures and hydroelectric turbines will mostly be underwater and not visible.

The University of Pittsburgh has reached a long-term agreement to buy power from the dams, as has Allegheny County.

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Rye Development advances progress at Lewis Ridge pumped storage

Lewis Ridge will bring over 2000 family wage construction jobs during a 3 – 5 year build period, as well as several dozen direct and indirect family-wage jobs during project operations.

“When Congressman Hal Rogers and Governor Steve Beshear founded ‘Shaping Our Appalachian Region’ (SOAR) nearly a decade ago, they imagined it to be an organisation dedicated to supporting long-term economic development and innovation in Eastern Kentucky,” added Colby Hall, Executive Director of SOAR. “That is why we’re proud to support Rye Development’s Lewis Ridge project, which will represent a projected US$1+ billion investment into Eastern Kentucky. On top of this, it will pave the way for more high-tech employers to locate in the region, creating good-paying jobs for more Eastern Kentuckians. SOAR has no higher priority than this.”

Recognising the value of these multi-generational infrastructure assets, the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act placed a 30% investment tax credit on pumped storage with the opportunity to increase that credit to 50% when located in former fossil fuel communities.

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Rye Development Grows Non-Powered Dam Portfolio Filing Preliminary Permits for Three New Projects in West Virginia

"Rye looks forward to additional expansion into West Virginia where there is a distinct opportunity for repurposing existing infrastructure to create renewable energy and support the local workforce and communities," said Paul Jacob, CEO of Rye. "These projects can serve as a reliable and sustainable energy solution and aid in paving the way toward West Virginia's goal of energy-independence."

The Hildebrand Lock and Dam is a navigational facility located on the Monongahela River between the communities of Morgantown and Fairmont. R.D. Bailey Dam is a flood control facility located on the Guyandotte River, near Justice, WV. Sutton Dam is a flood control facility on the Elk River, near the town of Sutton, WV. All three facilities are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Each of the proposed project sites will repurpose existing infrastructure and double down on the United States and West Virginia's goal of energy-independence. Additionally, these non-powered dam projects create new jobs and economic activity, investing nearly $100 million and creating 150-200 family wage jobs per project, for the surrounding communities. When fully FERC permitted, the projects would receive a 50-year license to operate.

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Rye Development advances progress at Lewis Ridge pumped storage

“The PAD filing for Lewis Ridge is an important milestone in the development process,” said Paul Jacob, CEO of Rye Development. “Rye is excited to partner with the local community on this important project and to help deliver significant jobs and economic benefits to this coal region and state as the US electric grid transitions.”

Lewis Ridge will bring over 2000 family wage construction jobs during a 3 – 5 year build period, as well as several dozen direct and indirect family-wage jobs during project operations.

“When Congressman Hal Rogers and Governor Steve Beshear founded ‘Shaping Our Appalachian Region’ (SOAR) nearly a decade ago, they imagined it to be an organisation dedicated to supporting long-term economic development and innovation in Eastern Kentucky,” added Colby Hall, Executive Director of SOAR. “That is why we’re proud to support Rye Development’s Lewis Ridge project, which will represent a projected US$1+ billion investment into Eastern Kentucky. On top of this, it will pave the way for more high-tech employers to locate in the region, creating good-paying jobs for more Eastern Kentuckians. SOAR has no higher priority than this.”

Recognizing the value of these multi-generational infrastructure assets, the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act placed a 30% investment tax credit on pumped storage with the opportunity to increase that credit to 50% when located in former fossil fuel communities.

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Pittsburgh’s new construction adds hydropower, Strip District housing and a Pitt rec center

You don’t have to build the Hoover Dam to get power from water.

Instead of building giant dams, Rye Development and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will take advantage of some that already exist: the Montgomery Lock and Dam (Beaver County), Emsworth Lock and Dam (near Neville Island) and Allegheny River Lock and Dam #2 (near the Highland Park Bridge). These three projects have moved into the final engineering, procurement and design stages.

The projects, which will break ground next year, will cost $250-$300 million and create 150 to 200 construction jobs. The concrete structures and hydroelectric turbines will mostly be underwater and not visible.

The University of Pittsburgh has reached a long-term agreement to buy power from the dams, as has Allegheny County.

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Rye Development advancing three hydropower projects in Pittsburgh Region

“We are excited to announce that we are advancing final engineering, procurement, and design of our first bundle of projects in Pittsburgh,” said Paul Jacob, Chief Executive Officer of Rye Development. “We’ve released additional engineering work orders for the Montgomery, Allegheny, and Emsworth projects and have secured agreements with equipment supplies across the board.”

Marking an important step in the construction timeline of the Montgomery Project, Rye has submitted the 30% design package to USACE. The design package is significant as it is the first submission of detailed engineering based on the early design concepts for the Montgomery project and is the culmination of nearly a decade of work by Rye in the Pittsburgh Region.

“We are honored to work in close collaboration with the Army Corps on these exciting flagship projects for Rye,” said Jacob. “The excellent working relationship we have developed with the Corps allows for the continued progress of not only the Montgomery project, but Emsworth and Allegheny #2, and is vital in establishing the processes and procedures we will need as we look forward to constructing additional projects in the region.”

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Big hydropower projects in Pittsburgh region take step forward

Three large-scale hydropower projects are moving closer to becoming reality, with the developer's announcement Tuesday that they are further into final engineering, procurement and design.

Rye Development, a nationally known developer of renewable and particularly hydropower projects, gave an update on the hydroelectric power projects that will be built next to three existing dams in the Pittsburgh region: Montgomery Lock & Dam on the Ohio River in Beaver County, Emsworth Lock & Dam on the Ohio River at Neville Island and Allegheny Lock and Dam #2 adjacent to the Highland Park Bridge on the Allegheny River.

The renewable, clean energy hydroelectric power that will be generated when the three projects are built are substantial: The University of Pittsburgh reached a long-term power purchase agreement with Rye for the 20 megawatts that will be generated at the Allegheny Lock and Dam; Allegheny County government will take care of about 95% of its power needs through a 35-year power purchase agreement for the 20 megawatts of Emsworth generation. Another 20 megawatts will be generated by the Montgomery project.

In an interview with the Business Times, Rye CEO Paul Jacob said the projects are coming along and ground will be broken sometime next year. Rye provided to the US Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and operates the dams, detailed engineering plans for the Montgomery dam. The US Army Corps have to give the go-ahead; other regulators including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have also had to approve or will. Rye is also releasing the work order for equipment supply agreements.

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A look into ways to improve, expand hydropower to reach U.S. energy goals

The Biden administration previously announced funding towards hydropower growth, with ambitious goals to achieve renewable energy. NBC’s Maura Barrett visited the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project and speaks on their success generating power from a pre-existing dam.

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'Landmark’ climate law turns up the power on Pa. solar, wind, hydropower energy projects

Green energy is bracing for growth.

The climate law signed by President Joe Biden in August is poised to drive a surge of investment in renewable energy as it extends and expands tax credits that have proven crucial to establishing clean energy on the grid.

Solar, wind, hydropower and energy storage industries are major beneficiaries of the Inflation Reduction Act, which analysts expect will cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 from 2005 levels.

Advocates for an array of renewable energy industries in Pennsylvania agree that a key benefit of the climate law is the certainty it provides to project developers by broadening clean energy tax credits, increasing their maximum rates and extending them for a decade or more.

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Goldendale energy project can help meet state’s clean-energy needs

This potential energy, held for use until needed, is why pumped storage hydropower is called “the world’s biggest battery.” More than 60 projects are being built worldwide, mostly in Europe and Asia. The Goldendale project would benefit from at least a 30% investment tax credit through the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law last week by President Joe Biden, officials said.

The roughly $2.5 billion project is expected to generate about 3,000 family-wage jobs over its five-year construction and 50 to 60 full-time positions once it is up and running. It would also produce a projected $14 million in tax revenue for the region. The project has a wide range of supporters, including unions, the City of Goldendale, Klickitat County and the five-county, two-state Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, which considers it a top priority for Washington in its comprehensive economic development strategy.

To put the project’s energy output in perspective, the embattled Lower Snake River Dams have a 3,500-megawatt capacity, although on average they produce about 900 megawatts of zero-carbon energy each year, according to a 2022 Bonneville Power Administration analysis.

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Expansion of Clean Energy Loans Is ‘Sleeping Giant’ of Climate Bill

Tucked into the Inflation Reduction Act that President Biden signed last week is a major expansion of federal loan programs that could help the fight against climate change by channeling more money to clean energy and converting plants that run on fossil fuels to nuclear or renewable energy.

The law authorizes as much as $350 billion in additional federal loans and loan guarantees for energy and automotive projects and businesses. The money, which will be disbursed by the Energy Department, is in addition to the better-known provisions of the law that offer incentives for the likes of electric cars, solar panels, batteries and heat pumps.

The aid could breathe life into futuristic technologies that banks might find too risky to lend to or into projects that are just short of the money they need to get going.

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Comments sought on ‘one of best pumped storage sites’ in Washington

On a recent tour of the site, the wind spun turbine blades near where the energy storage project would be built, but Steimle said no power was generated because recent rains caused the hydropower system to run at full capacity. A pumped storage project would help take advantage of all the energy left on the table now, he said.

“This is more like a day that we would typically see in April,” Stiemle said at the project tour June 22. “When the hydro facilities on the Columbia are operating at a full rate, it can be difficult for the wind to fully deliver its generation into the system.”

Moreover, Steimle said, the pumped storage project has a 100-year lifespan, which could help balance the grid long-term.

“This is a low cost way of aggregating all this wind and solar for generations,” Steimle said.

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Long Duration Energy Storage Council Membership More Than Doubles As More Companies Commit to Net-Zero Mission

Joining the LDES Council most recently toward the end of Q2 are six technology members: Energy Vault, Heatrix, Hydrostor, MGA Thermal, Rye Development, and Storworks.

These six new members, which represent a mix of LDES technologies targeting decarbonization of both power and heat, continue to build momentum for the LDES Council in developing a membership with diverse perspectives and a broad range of expertise. The organization now has a total of 53 diverse companies in regions across the world representing the full energy value chain – including technology innovators, equipment providers, renewable energy companies, utilities, investors, and end-users.

“Our growing membership is an indication that the Council’s work is moving forward and more important than ever to our goal of a decarbonized world with long duration energy storage at the epicenter,” said LDES Council Executive Director Julia Souder. “As we look at a system wide approach where LDES provides both heat and power flexibility, the broad perspective of our global experts support the acceleration and rapid deployment of long duration energy storage.”

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7 Green Tech Startups With the Innovations-and the Funding-to Help Save the Planet: Rye Development

Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are critical to our carbon-free future, but since it's not always windy and/or sunny, they require storage mechanisms to green the grid. When it opens in 2026, Swan Lake Energy Storage Project, based in Klamath County, Oregon, will be the first pumped storage hydropower project built in the U.S. in 30 years. The system uses excess renewable electricity from the grid to pump water to an elevated reservoir, where it sits as stored energy until it's needed. During peak demand, the water is released, spinning turbines that generate electricity. Swan Lake, which is being built by Boston-based Rye Development, will generate 400 megawatts of clean electricity, vastly increasing the storage capacity for the grid's wind and solar electricity.

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Wind, sun and water: The world has been moving toward using our natural resources for energy for more than a decade.

The Ohio River is vast. It’s 981 miles long and flows through or borders six states. There are 20 dams on the Ohio River, but only about half use moving water to generate power.

Each day, huge hydro turbines use water from the Ohio River to spin a generator and produce electricity.

The projects would total 23 MW, enough to power more than 11,000 homes each year. They wouldn’t take away from any of the history of the dams, only enhance the resource.

“The nice thing is you'll still have the recreational value, you'll still have the lock and dam, too,” Sandvig said. “I mean, they've been here for 185 years. So you'll continue to have this here. So you'll have recreation. You'll have the river and you're just looking at a small little powerhouse over there.”

The projects were proposed in 2016 and they’re now in need of a buyer for the power. Hydro projects do take a long time to get moving, but Sandvig said he is confident someone will purchase the power because hydropower is very affordable and reliable in terms of clean energy.

"Whether it's a corporate entity or a utility trying to meet their clean energy goals, or corporate goals, this would be one of those projects, like a wind project or a solar project, that they can, that they could buy power from and demonstrate their commitment to the local community or the state when it comes to clean energy goals,” Sandvig said.

Hydropower is the country's largest source of renewable energy, but is one of the least-used sources in Ohio. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, less than 1% of Ohio's power comes from hydro, leaving a lot of room for growth.

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Giving old dams new life could spark an energy boom

Most American dams are more than 60 years old, and many have outlived their utility or present public safety risks. There is a consensus both in the hydroelectric industry and among environmentalists that these dams should be removed. However, there is growing interest on the part of hydroelectric companies to tap into the energy-producing potential of the nonpowered dams that remain essential to our infrastructure.

Nonpowered dams compose the vast majority of America’s dam infrastructure. They can be found across the country, come in all sizes and were built to address a wide array of needs, including flood control, navigation, water supply and recreation. Out of the estimated 90,000 dams in the United States, about 2,200 of them generate hydroelectric power. These hydropower resources, however, account for 7 percent of national energy production and contribute 37 percent of the nation’s renewable energy supply.

Hydropower interests and their supporters stress that hydropower could play a crucial and potentially unique role in energy production. Solar and wind produce energy intermittently, but hydropower can operate day or night, 24/7. Some hydropower facilities can shut down or ramp up energy production very quickly, providing energy grids with stopgap flexibility during peak demand or in the case of blackouts.

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Alternative Power Plays: Power Players - Paul Jacob and Michael Rooney

On this podcast, we talk to companies across industries about the new and innovative ways in which they are getting electricity to their facilities, buildings and other sites. On this episode, we are talking to a company building upon some longstanding technologies for producing and storing energy that will play a key role in a more renewable and sustainable energy future.

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As coal mining comes to end, this East Kentucky land is set to house renewable energy project

As coal continues to be mined at a Bell County site, a portion of the land will become home to a renewable energy project that would provide thousands of jobs and generate electricity for the region.

Rye Development plans to install a pumped hydropower storage project on Lewis Ridge, which is adjacent to the Cumberland River near the communities of Blackmont, Tejay, Balkan and Callaway.

Developers are beginning a lengthy permitting process with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Rye Development will also need to raise capital and an energy buyer. Sandvig expects the development process to take four to five years.

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Hydropower eyes bigger energy role, less environmental harm

In southwestern Pennsylvania, eight locks and dams that for decades helped barges move goods along the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers will in a few years also generate enough power for 75,000 homes.

Rye Development, a Boston-based hydropower company, is retrofitting the dams with turbines to generate electricity and says the upgraded structures will limit damage to the rivers’ water quality and fish.

The project reflects a recent thawing between the industry and conservation groups, which had long opposed dams that can prevent fish migration, alter water temperatures and cause other environmental problems. As the U.S. pushes to transition to low-carbon energy, Rye is among the companies that sees an opportunity to expand hydropower production at existing dams while working to minimize environmental harms.

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Pumped hydro grid storage could be poised for a comeback

Look out, high-concept battery tech: Water and gravity may be on the brink of a resurgence.

Venture capitalists are pouring buckets of cash into novel ways to store clean energy, even though we already have a technology that does this, and does it well.

That would be pumped-storage hydropower, which simply lifts water to an elevated reservoir for storage, and then releases it to spin turbines and generate electricity when needed. This mechanism has been in use for more than a century and constitutes some 95 percent of grid-scale storage in the U.S. today, according to the Department of Energy.

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Rye Development Grows Portfolio with Long-Duration Energy Storage Project

The Lewis Ridge pumped storage project is located adjacent to the Cumberland River near the communities of Blackmont, Tejay, Balkan and Callaway, Kentucky. The project site sits on a former coal strip mine in an active coal mining area. As coal is phased out of the grid across the nation, coal communities face uncertain employment and economic futures. Projects like Lewis Ridge create new jobs and economic activity in energy communities.

The project will invest nearly $1 billion dollars into the county and bring close to 2,000 family wage construction jobs over a 3 to 5-year period, as well as several dozen direct and indirect family-wage jobs during project operations. When fully FERC permitted, the project would receive a 50-year license to operate.

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ODOE Grounded Podcast: Pump Up The Hydro!

Energy storage is a popular topic and pumped-storage hydropower could be a key technology is our growing renewable energy landscape. According to the Energy Information Administration, there are 43 pumped-storage projects operating in the United States and they provide nearly 2 percent of the capacity of the electrical supply system.

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Energy storage project moving forward

A proposed closed-loop pumped hydro storage facility near Goldendale is again moving forward. The Goldendale Energy Storage Project proposes to store “clean” energy generated by wind and solar projects.

“It’s an old sort of ‘back to the future’ project,” said Michael Rooney, vice president of Project Management for Rye Development, LLC. “We think closed-loop pumped hydro storage is critical to the grid, specifically in the Pacific Northwest.”

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Focus 15 Episode 29 – How a new energy project could bolster the state’s grid

In this episode of the Focus 15, TJ Martinell speaks with Rye Development Vice President of Project Development Erik Steimle about a new clean energy project near Goldendale.

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Goldendale project could stabilize, expand energy grid

Washington utility providers face two challenges in the near future: finding additional electricity to prevent outages while also complying with state Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) requirements to rely more on clean energy sources—most of which lack storage capacity.

A proposed closed-system hydro pump storage project by Rye Development near Goldendale could help meet both objectives. When completed, the wind-solar-hydro system will be able to generate and store electricity sufficient to power the equivalent of the Seattle metro area for 12 hours. Additionally, the project would boost the local economy during its four-year construction.

A major issue for utilities trying to comply with CETA is that wind and solar can only provide electricity when weather allows for its generation. While a hydroelectric dam is capable of storing its energy, various constraints – including concerns over the impact to salmon migration – make it unlikely that more will be built. There have also been efforts over the years to have existing dams on the lower Snake River removed, action which requires congressional authorization.

The Goldendale project avoids these issues due to its closed-system design. The site uses wind and solar energy, when available, to pump 60 acres worth of water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir. During high demand periods, water is then released back through the pumps and passes through a turbine to generate electricity.

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Pittsburgh’s renewable energy opportunity in hydropower: generating power when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

Only about 3% of the over 80,000 existing dams in the U.S are actively producing electricity. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Pittsburgh District operates 23 dams alone. Many of these non-powered dams present a unique opportunity for repurposing existing infrastructure to create a local renewable energy solution that supports Pittsburgh’s growing innovation economy.

Rye Development is the leading developer of new low impact hydropower energy generation and energy storage in the United States. We are committed to playing a critical role in accelerating the country’s renewable energy transition over the coming decades. Based in Boston, but with staff across the country, Rye has strategically chosen Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania as one of its flagship development locations.

Over the past 10 years, Rye has worked to obtain state and federal licensing for eight low impact, run-of-river hydroelectric projects in southwestern Pennsylvania – known for its iconic three rivers: the Monongahela and the Allegheny which form the Ohio. These projects (four on the Mon, three on the Ohio, and one on the Allegheny) will remove a piece of the existing dam, replace it with a small powerhouse, and generate nearly 600 gigawatt hours of 24/7 renewable energy annually over initial 50-year operating licenses from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Each project will qualify for PA Tier I renewable energy credits (RECs) while also obtaining Low Impact Hydro Institute certification – the highest industry standard. We anticipate the projects will inject $400 – $600 million into the local economy through construction and long-term operations.

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Can Retrofitting Dams for Hydro Provide a Green Energy Boost?

With the era of building big dams over in the U.S., a growing number of existing dams are being modified to produce hydropower. These projects, advocates say, avoid the damaging impacts of new dams and could generate enough renewable electricity for several million homes.

In 1969, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished construction of the Red Rock Dam on the Des Moines River in Marion County, Iowa. One of thousands of U.S. dams built that decade, its purpose was to moderate seasonal flooding, allowing the Corps to release the million-and-a-half acre feet of snowmelt it impounded each spring at will. And for more than 50 years, aside from providing locals with a reservoir in which to fish and go boating, that’s all it did.

That changed last fall when engineers let water rush into two penstocks freshly punched through the concrete structure of the dam. Flowing into a powerhouse below, the water spun two hydroelectric turbines before pouring back into the river, generating enough electricity to power more than 18,000 homes in Iowa, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota.

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Lieutenant governor visits [Klickitat] county

Washington’s Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck visited Klickitat County Monday at the invitation of Goldendale City Council member Miland Walling. He and his wife, Paula Fruci, got a briefing on the proposed Goldendale pumped storage project from a viewpoint on Highway 14 overlooking the site of the former Goldendale aluminum plant.

Asked for his reaction, Heck replied: “What’s not to like? A project that creates all these jobs, both in the short term, but also on the ongoing basis, and something that creates renewable, carbon-free energy.”

He added, “There are clearly going to be people that bring forth concerns, and we’re going to have to work them through in the regulatory process. But talk about the ultimate curb appeal, this kind of project has it.” During the briefing, Heck asked a number of probing questions about the project.

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Opinion: Readers respond: Storage is key to electric grid

In response to “Over 6,000 PGE customers lost power amid record heat wave” (June 27): It’s clear that our infrastructure cannot handle today’s severe weather. We saw our neighbors lose power with record high temperatures, which further demonstrates the urgency to modernize our electric grid. We need a strong, resilient and affordable power grid to keep our state and economy running. As Congress looks to address infrastructure needs, energy storage must be seen as a critical path to a more resilient and decarbonized electric grid. By making a stand-alone investment tax credit for energy storage a reality, we hope to see lowered costs and accelerated adoption of storage, just as we have with other clean-energy technologies such as wind and solar.

In Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project will be a critical piece of the region’s clean-energy economy. The more than $800 million project near Klamath Falls will generate 400 megawatts of clean electricity while storing the region’s abundant wind and solar electricity. The project will provide thousands of family-wage jobs during its three- to-five-year construction period. This means that in situations like our recent heat wave, we would have additional sources of energy to hopefully prevent loss of power to our residents.

We need Oregon’s congressional delegation to support the storage investment tax credit. This would mean more good-paying jobs, lower energy bills and a stronger, cleaner, more resilient electric infrastructure that can withstand any extreme weather to come.

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Opinion: New energy storage project near Goldendale, WA will help NW power needs

Oregon and Washington are taking great strides to decarbonize the Northwest Energy Grid, however to achieve their clean energy goals while providing reliable, always-on electricity, the region will need new, innovative energy storage.

Gov. Inslee, a fervent supporter of renewables, noted in an interview this past April that “we’re bringing on what may be the Western hemisphere’s largest pumped storage facility… to have a grid system that is fully compatible with renewable energy…” In March 2020, the governor signed a bill into law proclaiming that Goldendale was “a project of statewide significance” and thus streamlining and expediting its permit process. Kudos to my friend and former House colleague for recognizing the importance of this project.

The Goldendale Pumped Storage Project can generate 1,200 megawatts of electricity and store another 25,506 MWh from other renewable energy sources. That’s enough power to meet the needs of Seattle for 12 hours. Further, its “closed-loop” system does not involve constructing a new dam on the Columbia. It operates by recirculating water between an upper and lower reservoir system.

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Jay Anders joins Rye Development, LLC as COO

Rye Development (Rye) is pleased to announce that Jay Anders, P.E., has joined the company as the Chief Operations Officer with a primary focus on the engineering, procurement, and construction of various hydropower projects in North America.

Anders joins Rye after spending the last 15 years in the hydropower consulting industry. Most recently, as the Associate Vice President and Deputy Director for Black & Veatch's (BV) Hydropower and Hydraulic Structures Department.

"Jay's deep experience and track record across multiple types of hydropower projects – ranging from pumped storage, run-of-river, and conventional hydropower make him a particularly good fit for strategically advancing Rye's diverse project portfolio," said Paul Jacob, CEO of Rye.

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Argonne leads creation of definitive valuation guide for pumped storage hydropower

The U.S. has set the goal of having a 100% carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 and a net zero energy economy by 2050. This means traditional coal and gas power plants will need to retire as more variable wind and solar power rise. This grid transformation, in combination with changing climate conditions, will create new power reliability and storage capacity demands. The 2021 polar vortex in Texas and the 2020 heat wave in California are examples of the grid’s growing pains during this period of necessary change.

Existing pumped storage hydropower plants, constructed long before wind and solar entered the market, can help with de-carbonization and grid resiliency goals. However, they won’t provide nearly enough storage or flexibility as solar and wind energy grow. More plants need to be built and key decision-makers need a common language to analyze and justify investment in what is typically lengthy, expensive hydropower plant development.

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Opinion: Clean energy infrastructure vital to Washington’s future

Weather-related blackouts in Texas earlier this year and the rolling blackouts in California last year are further reminders of how fragile our power grids can be.

Now our region’s utilities like Puget Sound Energy have just gone through the process of developing integrated resource plans (IRP) that involve planning how to remove global greenhouse gas emitting energy sources from their portfolios and replace them with carbon-free sources of power for utility customers. This is a daunting task and we all must support the utilities as they work through this very complex and unprecedented process. In turn, the utilities must properly consider all available technology to supply Washingtonians with the affordable clean power we need.

One important mature technology in the Puget Sound Energy IRP process is closed-loop pumped storage. The proposed Goldendale Energy Storage Project in Klickitat County relies on this established carbon-free technology and would provide our region with the needed energy storage resources that will be essential in complying with CETA.

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Fitzgerald Announces Commitment to Locally-Generated Renewable Energy

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald today announced an investment by Allegheny County in locally-generated clean energy. The county has entered into a 35-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Rye Development to purchase renewable energy generated by a 17.8 MW low- impact hydropower facility Rye will construct on the Ohio River.

For each year that the agreement is in effect, the county will offset emissions equivalent to the entire electrical consumption of over 3,400 households. Over the life of the agreement, the county’s purchases will offset over 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions, roughly equal to 2.6 billion miles driven in a typical passenger vehicle.

“This is a landmark day for our county,” said Fitzgerald. “This announcement renews our commitment to the environment, our commitment to addressing climate change and is an investment in our future generations.”

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Fund manager bets on new source of renewable power: old river dams

A fund manager named Climate Adaptive Infrastructure this week said it would provide capital to retrofit dams constructed for purposes such as flood control, navigation and irrigation.

The projects — in the states of Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — involve “no new dam construction, but a huge source of clean energy”, said Bill Green, CAI’s managing partner.

Together the 22 sites would produce 250 megawatts, enough to supply more than 100,000 homes. CAI intends to invest up to $150m in equity capital, with federal tax credits and debt accounting for the rest of the $800m total value of the projects.

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Climate Adaptive Infrastructure Funds Hydroelectric Projects at 22 Existing Non-Powered Dams

Climate Adaptive Infrastructure, LLC (“CAI”) an infrastructure investment firm specializing in low-carbon real assets in the energy, water and transport sectors, today announced that it is funding the construction of 22 hydroelectric projects (“Rye Hydro”) at existing non-powered dams (“NPDs”) in the Eastern United States, alongside Rye Development, LLC a leading U.S. hydropower developer. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to partner with Paul Jacob and the strong management team at Rye Development as they install hydroelectric turbines at existing, non-powered dams across the Eastern United States,” said Bill Green, Founder and Managing Partner of Climate Adaptive Infrastructure. “The Rye Hydro investment is a perfect fit with CAI’s mission to fund large-scale, low-carbon infrastructure projects that withstand the policy risks and economic pressures of the global climate crisis.”

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The Region Could Use Pumped Storage, But Can It Afford It?

An international infrastructure investment firm has acquired development rights to the 400 MW Swan Lake and 1,200 MW Goldendale projects, likely giving those proposed Northwest closed-loop hydro pumped storage projects the financing needed to see them through completion.

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, on behalf of Copenhagen Infrastructure IV K/S, announced Nov. 11 it has acquired ownership of the $800 million Swan Lake project, located in Klamath County, Ore., and the $2.1 billion Goldendale project in Kittitas County, Wash., from National Grid and Rye Development, which will remain as project manager.

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CIP acquires Swan Lake and Goldendale, 393 MW and 1,200 MW pumped storage hydro projects located in Oregon and Washington, USA

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), on behalf of Copenhagen Infrastructure IV K/S, has acquired ownership of the Swan Lake (Klamath County, Oregon) and Goldendale (Klickitat County, Washington) closed-loop pump storage hydro projects. The projects were previously owned and in development under a joint venture between Rye Development (Rye) and National Grid.

Swan Lake is a 400 MW project that secured its 50-year Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license in 2019. Goldendale is a 1,200 MW project that has filed an application with FERC in June of 2020.

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Rye Development is pleased to announce our new Vice President Mr. Nathan Sandvig.

Mr. Sandvig is a seasoned renewable energy developer and joins our team after leading National Grid’s utility scale energy storage business. Prior to his role at National Grid, Nate served in senior development and campaign roles at MWH Global, EDF Renewable Energy, EDP Renewables, and Noble Environmental Power. Nate brings considerable value to Rye as we transition into the construction of a number of high-profile projects requiring careful management of ongoing relationships with local communities, elected officials, and both renewable energy and energy storage advocacy organizations.

Rye Development is pleased to announce our agreement with environmental and industry organizations recognizing the importance of new hydropower for integrating wind/solar into the US electric grid to increase the climate resilience of US rivers

U.S. Environmental Community and Hydropower Industry Issue Joint Statement of Collaboration

The Joint Statement was developed under a Stanford Uncommon Dialogue co-convened by Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, the Stanford Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, and the Energy Futures Initiative

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In a grid dominated by renewable energy, Rye’s Swan Lake and Goldendale closed loop pumped storage facilities are positioned to be the “heavily artillery” batteries US utilities will need

Pumped storage hydropower accounted for around 95% of commercial energy storage capacity in the U.S. as of 2018, with around 21.6 GW of installed capacity around the country. Facilities traditionally include two reservoirs, at different elevations; they draw power by pumping water to the upper reservoir, and generate it by passing that water through a turbine. But experts say it's notoriously difficult to find suitable locations for the pumped hydro plants, which are large, rely on specific geographies like mountains, and have prolonged permitting and development timelines that can stretch to a decade.

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The Swan Lake Energy Storage Project will be the cornerstone of Southern Oregon’s post-covid economic recovery

The Swan Lake project is past the permitting phase and developers are now working to acquire equipment and finalize the design before breaking ground in December 2021. It has been more than 10 years in the making, so vice president of Rye Development Erik Steimle said they’re still pushing ahead despite COVID. He said he’s only seen the demand for renewable energy increase during COVID.

The project is estimated to create more than 3,300 jobs in construction and long term employment. Steimle said they have an agreement to hire locally before looking to employ people from elsewhere.

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Labor agreement signed for the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project

Rye Development has come to terms on a project labor agreement (PLA) with the Southern Oregon Building and Construction Trades Council covering the proposed $800 million Swan Lake Energy Storage Project 11 miles northeast of Klamath Falls, Oregon.

A memorandum of understanding signed Feb. 6 stipulates that the project will be built under a PLA, and that contractors and subcontractors will recognize the Southern Oregon Building and Construction Trades Council as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative of the employees who perform the work.

In exchange, the Building and Trades Council and its member unions agree to prioritize and support the Swan Lake project as an opportunity to provide jobs to union members.

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PGE shift lifts hopes for $800M pumped storage project

In a regulatory filing, the investor-owned electric utility proposed moving quicker than originally planned to explore plugging a capacity gap expected to open up later this decade. That could put the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project, which has a development timeline of several years, into play.

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Washington’s Governor Inslee visits the Goldendale Pumped Storage Project

Great day out at the Goldendale Pumped Storage Project in Washington with Governor Inslee, local county officials, labor representatives and a major league data center developer. Enormous economic development potential with the Goldendale Pumped Storage Project being the cornerstone of a 100% clean energy economy and 24/7 carbon-free power.

Inslee Visits Goldendale Site

Swan Lake land use for transmission line authorized

The Bureau of Reclamation issued a Right-of-Use authorization Thursday that allows for the construction of a transmission line project on two remote 40-acre parcels east of Klamath Falls, according to a news release.

The authorization permits Swan Lake North Hydro to develop a 393.3-megawatt hydropower generating facility through a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license for private development.

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Opinion: Pumped-storage hydropower can help Washington meet its 100% clean-energy goal

As Washington state begins its transition to a carbon-free electrical supply, a new project under development near Goldendale has the potential to deliver an abundance of clean electricity to support the Northwest energy grid. This project already has the support of a wide range of stakeholders.

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Oregon Legislature passed a joint resolution in May 2019 in support of closed loop pump storage projects

The Oregon Legislature passed a joint resolution in May 2019 in support of closed loop pump storage projects, like the Swan Lake Project. It is the first of its kind in the nation. The resolution passed both the Senate and House with near unanimous support across party lines and urban/rural constituencies. The resolution acknowledges the need for large storage projects like pump storage to help Oregon integrate increasing amounts of renewable energy and move toward a clean energy grid. It also acknowledges the large economic development opportunity these projects create along with thousands of construction jobs and dozens of permanent operation and maintenance jobs in rural Oregon. The joint resolution specifically provides that the Legislature “supports the development of environmentally appropriate closed loop pump storage projects” and “encourages Oregon regulators to support such projects” and “Oregon utilities to utilize such projects in their energy resource mixes to meet their capacity needs in the coming years.”

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FERC issues original license for 393.3-MW Swan Lake North Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued an original 50-year license for the 393.3-MW Swan Lake North Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project in Klamath County, Oregon.

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Feds approve giant ‘battery’ in Southern Oregon

Federal energy regulators on Tuesday approved construction of what would amount to the biggest “battery” in Oregon.

The $800 million Swan Lake North Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project, 11 miles north of Klamath Falls, would move water between two 60-plus-acre reservoirs separated by more than 1,600 vertical feet, pumping the water uphill when energy is available and sending it downhill through generating turbines when energy is needed.

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Pumped storage power plants convince Californian politicians and business representatives

On Tuesday, 16 April 2019, a high-level Californian delegation of politicians and business representatives visited the Nant de Drance pumped storage power plant, which is about to be completed. The visitors, who are touring Switzerland and France on a study trip organised by the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy (CFEE), were evidently impressed by this project.

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Pumped Storage Projects Selected for Techno-Economic Studies

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced selections for its Notice of Opportunity for Technical Assistance (NOTA) to perform techno-economic studies to evaluate the long-term value of two selected pumped-storage hydropower (PSH) projects. While PSH projects were initially built to balance the electricity system between period of high demand during the day and low demand at night, increases in variable renewable generation have changed how plants are operated and the value they provide to the grid. For example, instead of generating during the day and pumping at night, many plants now change operational modes multiple times per day and are relied on to provide quick ramping or frequency response. Determining the value of PSH under these changing grid conditions is a significant challenge that requires new modeling tools and analysis. These studies will provide PSH developers with improved capabilities to estimate the value of a proposed PSH project and compare financial revenue streams under current market structures relative to the economic value of PSH projects to the grid.

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Pitt signs agreement to purchase all the power from planned hydroelectric plant

In a big step toward meeting its 2030 sustainability goals, Pitt has agreed to purchase 100 percent of the power from a low-impact hydroelectric power plant to be built on the Allegheny River.

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Rye Development LLC Requests Qualification Proposals from Hydropower EPC Providers

Rye Development LLC (RYE) is the leading developer of new hydropower on existing dams in the U.S. RYE currently has over 1,800 megawatts (MWs) of hydropower in development across 24 projects in eight states.

Rye has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) Services on ten (10) initial new hydropower projects on existing low-head dams, totaling over 120 MWs and located in the greater Western Pennsylvania / West Virginia region at US Army Corps of Engineers’ navigational facilities. This RFQ is intended to solicit submittals from companies and / or teams interested and qualified in providing EPC services for RYE’s proposed hydroelectric projects leading to the selection of one (1) EPC provider.

View Full RFQ

Hydroelectric vision: Plan for plant on Allegheny deserves consideration

A Boston firm is moving forward with design plans for a hydroelectric power plant below the Highland Park Bridge on the Allegheny River. Rye Development is hoping to piggyback its underwater turbine to the existing Lock and Dam No. 2 structure, a $40 million to $60 million project that could produce enough electricity to power 5,000 to 8,000 homes. Rye also has plans for seven other hydroelectric plants: four on the Monongahela River and three on the Ohio River.

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Senator Cantwell visits the Goldendale Energy Storage Project

Klickitat County has already been a leader in energy policy, implementing one of the most advanced policies in the nation to cover the county with wind and now they’re looking at pump storage which is a good solution to renewable energy, to have something that would balance it out. So seeing this project today, we want to make sure that the federal government is putting in place what are the rules for projects like pump storage to occur. That’s what we’re trying to encourage them to do. What are the parameters, what would be the process by which projects like this could be considered, so the county could submit something and have that considered.

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House and Senate negotiators reach agreement on water infrastructure bill

Senate and House lawmakers on Monday night reached an agreement on a bipartisan water infrastructure bill that will reauthorize billions of dollars in federal spending on ports, harbors, and waterways as well as deauthorize inefficient spending on water projects.

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Klamath Commissioners briefed on Swan Lake project

A $750 million energy storage project in Klamath County has cleared a major hurdle.

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Group meets to examine planned pumped storage project

A representative of the British government, three U.S senators, a U.S. congresswoman, personnel from the governor’s office and Washington State departments, a full complement of district legislators, commissioners from two counties, and an assortment of highly interested parties met last Tuesday to hear about and provide input on a planned pumped storage energy project for Klickitat County.

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The board of Rye Development appoints a new CEO, Paul D. Jacob

The Board of Directors of FFP New Hydro LLC announces that Paul D. Jacob has been appointed as CEO to succeed Ramya Swaminathan. Ms. Swaminathan announced her resignation as CEO, effective February 28, 2018, to pursue another venture in the energy space.

“Under Ramya’s leadership, Rye Development has solidified its position as the leading developer of new hydropower on existing dams in the United States and has advanced its initial portfolio of projects through a number of value inflection points. Ramya also led the company’s establishment of a pumped hydropower storage business and Rye Development is now a significant developer of pumped storage capacity. We thank her for her dedication to the company and wish her a lot of luck in her new venture,” said FFP New Hydro Board Member David Phillip.

“The Board has complete confidence in Paul as the new CEO: he has been an integral part of Rye’s success to date and will lead the company with expertise and determination,” Mr. Phillip continued.

Swan Lake hydro project enters new phase

A long-discussed hydro-electric project in Klamath County has moved one step closer to fruition, as environmental analysis and a comment period have begun for the proposed Swan Lake North pumped-storage plant.

The project is estimated to be able to power up to 600,000 homes, or 1,187 gigawatt-hours annually, at an estimated cost of $2 billion to complete. The proposed site of the plant rests on 730 acres of federal lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Bureau of Reclamation as well as state and private lands, approximately 11 miles northeast of Klamath Falls.

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xclusive: Big time backers revive $2B Columbia River Gorge energy storage project

A massive proposed energy storage project alongside the Columbia River has new life.

Confident that the $2 billion project has a chance, Rye Development, which calls itself the largest developer of new hydropower in the U.S., has applied for a preliminary federal permit for the Goldendale Energy Storage Project, 110 miles upriver from Portland.

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Rye Development to build 17-MW hydro plant near Pittsburgh

Rye Development announced it has received a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build a 17-MW hydro facility on the Allegheny River near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The $60 million development should begin construction in 2018 and begin operations in 2020.

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Modernizing Energy Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities to Expanding Hydropower Generation

The Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at 1:15 p.m. in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled “Modernizing Energy Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities to Expanding Hydropower Generation.

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Subenergy examines hydropower and ways to modernize energy infrastructure

The Energy Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today held a hearing examining the state of the nation’s dams and hydropower resources. The subcommittee reviewed the federal licensing process and recommendations to improve coordination between government agencies, promote new infrastructure, and ensure consumers have access to reliable and affordable electricity generated from hydropower.

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Hydroelectric power plant in development along Ohio River

“What we are proposing is a hydroelectric power plant of about 50 megawatts. It would provide energy to approximately 22,000 homes,” said Andrew Blystra, Rye Development engineer.

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New hydroelectric plant proposed for Kittanning Borough

Rye Development Vice-President Erik Steimle led the discussion and listened to concerns raised by citizens at Tuesday’s public meeting at the Kittanning Township Fire Hall.

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U.S. Hydropower Grows By Going Small

Hydropower in the United States is primed for a shakeup. On one hand, utilities and governments are tearing down old dams with increasing frequency. These dams often produce little or no power while dividing rivers, decimating fisheries, and sterilizing watersheds. Many of the remaining dams, like much of America’s infrastructure, need significant repairs. Fixing these liabilities would cost $US 57.7 billion, according to a 2012 estimate by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. Current figures are surely higher.

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FFP New Hydro Receives FERC Licenses For Yazoo River Basin Hydropower Projects

FFP New Hydro LLC announced today the receipt of Hydropower licenses from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for four projects located in the Yazoo River Basin in Mississippi, at existing flood control facilities owned and operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The four projects are expected to have a generating capacity of 33 megawatts (MW), enough to power over 15,000 homes with clean, reliable, low cost energy.

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Mississippi getting hydropower

Four dams located in Mississippi’s Yazoo River Basin – on Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid and Grenada Lakes – will be retrofitted in the next two to three years to produce enough power for more than 15,000 homes annually.

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FFP New Hydro And Crestline Investors Team Up To Deliver 21 Hydroelectric Projects On Existing Dams In The U.S.

FFP New Hydro LLC announced today the continued expansion of its hydroelectric power portfolio in the U.S. with its closing of a senior loan facility with Crestline Investors, Inc., a Texas-based alternative asset management firm, and the acquisition and integration of Rye Development, FFP New Hydro's manager, into the company. FFP New Hydro has completed these transactions in order to pursue continued development of its portfolio of 21 advanced stage hydropower projects on existing dams across five states, the first of which received a 50-year license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in September of 2014.

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