The proposed Navajo Energy Storage Station is a massive, 2,210 megawatt storage facility on Navajo Nation lands near the south shore of Lake Powell. The facility would use energy produced from solar and wind plants in the desert Southwest to pump water to a reservoir on the Cummins Plateau above the lake, then release it each day to generate 10 hours of renewable energy that would reliably power the region around the clock.
The NESS project would unlock the potential of renewable energy on Navajo lands and serve as an anchor of economic development as the region transitions from reliance on coal to carbon-free energy resources.
An Excellent Location for Grid-Scale Energy Storage
The NESS site ranks among the nation’s most viable and cost-effective locations for a huge energy storage facility because it would utilize the water source at Lake Powell and existing power lines at the retired coal-fired Navajo Generating Station. The project includes a 16-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line that would connect to the existing grid near the plant and from there feed into lucrative power markets in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation identified the NESS site as a location that could offer extremely valuable energy storage at a cost lower than most existing pumped hydro facilities that have provided affordable energy storage for decades. The benefits provided by the NESS storage facility will only grow over time as more and more variable renewable resources are integrated onto the grid.
The $3.6 billion Navajo Energy Storage Station would create more than 1,000 jobs during construction at a time when the region is transitioning away from economic reliance on the Navajo Generating Station and affiliated coal production. Beyond that, the project will support surrounding solar and wind development as the Navajo Nation pursues clean energy as the central pillar of its adopted economic development plan.
Large-scale energy storage is an essential element of building an economy powered by 100 percent carbon-free energy. It will allow electric grid operators to run the bulk power system reliably on renewable resources—the key to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and tackling runaway climate change.
Minimal Environmental Impacts
Daybreak Power is developing the Navajo Energy Storage Station to blaze a pathway toward a carbon-free future. We have a moral obligation to keep the environmental impacts to a minimum. The facility will sit outside of critical habitat areas of endangered species, does not tap into groundwater or inundate any waterways, and will recycle water from Lake Powell with negligible water loss as the facility runs through its daily pumping/power generation cycle. We are committed to working with the National Park Service, the Navajo Nation and other First Nations, public interest groups, water users and recreationists to mitigate any adverse impacts.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is currently reviewing Daybreak Power’s application for a preliminary permit for the project. This is the first step toward FERC licensing, leasing through the Bureau of Reclamation, permitting through other federal agencies and the Navajo Nation, and ultimately construction and operation of the facility.
At each step, the project will undergo extensive consultation with all stakeholders and rigorous federal and tribal review to ensure it meets the highest safety, environmental and historic preservation standards. Beyond that, the project will only be financed and built if it is shown to provide clear economic benefits across the region and will support grid reliability as the region transitions to carbon-free energy resources.
To learn more, you can follow the FERC proceeding at Docket No. P-15001-000.