The Goldendale Energy Storage Project will provide renewable sources of electricity in the US Pacific Northwest (wind and solar power) with backup storage. Renewable electricity, when not needed by electrical customers in Oregon and Washington, will be used to pump water from a lower reservoir to the upper reservoir. The project will store renewable energy in the form of water in this upper reservoir more than 2,000 feet above a lower reservoir. When there is increased consumer demand for renewable electricity, the power is released in the form of water from the upper reservoir through turbines that can generate up to 1,200 megawatts at peak.
The Goldendale site is a former aluminum smelter. The project will require the removal of a landfill as the material is unsuitable for reservoir construction. The project will benefit multiple stakeholders: the site owners, who will no longer need to monitor the former landfill; the responsible parties, who no longer need to pay for monitoring; the county, as the project will bring in jobs and revenue; and the environment, as groundwater issues will be diminished with the removal of the landfill.
This area of the US has seen a rapid expansion in large scale data center development. Data centers require a considerable amount of power and their industry has come to expect that 100% of their power will come from non-fossil fuel based sources of electricity. The Goldendale project will facilitate additional data center development in the region by providing a firm 24/7 source of renewable electricity, while assisting with the region’s decarbonization goals.