House passes Schweikert-Stanton bill expanding affordable pumped storage hydropower in Arizona

U.S. Representatives from Arizona David Schweikert (R) and Greg Stanton (D) celebrated the House of Representatives’ passage of their bipartisan legislation that allows for the exploration of the construction of more pumped storage hydropower facilities within the Salt River reservoir system. Their bill aims to maintain affordable energy prices for the people of Arizona, enhance grid stability during periods of high demand, and increase the availability of cost-effective and dependable energy.

The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Pumped storage hydroelectricity is a system that pumps water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir during times of low energy demand. When energy demand peaks and electricity is required on the grid, the water from the upper reservoir is released downhill into the lower reservoir. It is then directed through hydropower turbines, which can produce a reliable supply of energy for approximately 10-12 hours.

The bipartisan legislation was passed by the House Natural Resources Committee by unanimous vote on July 19.

“I am glad to see the House come together to pass our legislation which enables the development of additional pumped-storage hydropower sites on the Salt River, further increasing the supply of affordable and reliable energy for communities across central Arizona,”  Schweikert said. “As our state’s economy and population continue to explode, we must embrace long-term energy storage technologies to lower costs for Arizona residents. I’m proud to have worked with Rep. Stanton to shepherd this bill through the House, and I look forward to its passage in the Senate as it moves one step closer to becoming law.”

Stanton said the bill offers the grid more flexibility and reliability.

“I’m proud the House overwhelmingly passed our bipartisan bill to help facilitate the innovative development of pumped storage hydropower, and I’m grateful to Congressman Schweikert for his partnership,” Stanton said. “Not only do pumped storage projects provide greater flexibility and improve reliability in our energy grid, they cut utility costs for Arizona families and businesses.”

to SRP, pumped storage hydropower provides long-duration energy storage that can help increase the utility’s supply of affordable, sustainable and reliable energy. 

“SRP applauds House passage of H.R. 1607, a bill that will enable further evaluation of pumped storage sites for long duration energy storage resources,” Salt River Project GM & CEO Jim Pratt said. “We greatly appreciate the leadership of Rep. Schweikert and Rep. Stanton, the lead House co-sponsors, and for the support of the entire Arizona delegation. Based on SRP’s projected customer growth and energy demand, there will be an increasing need to utilize reliable long duration storage, and we look forward to the Senate considering this legislation without delay.”

U.S. Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) introduced companion legislation in the Senate in March.

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