Absaroka Energy LLC will participate in a recently announced U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) pumped storage hydro (PSH) study. This award is one of six that was selected by DOE through the HydroNEXT initiative. Absaroka’s 400-megawatt (MW) Gordon Butte Pumped Storage Project will be used as a reference project in the study. 

Absaroka Energy, developer of the Gordon Butte Pumped Storage Hydro Project, has teamed up with DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), NaturEner and GE Renewable Energy to conduct the $1.25 million, 24-month study to support the development of a new generation of advanced PSH projects throughout the United States.  

“The project team recognizes the need for solutions using best-in-class technology and innovation system approaches for the nation’s power grid.  Our mission, which supports the Energy Department’s Hydropower Vision, is to further develop a new generation of hydro projects, including capturing the lowcost capacity, regulation, and energy storage capabilities provided by advanced pumped storage hydro,” said Carl Borgquist, President of Absaroka Energy. 

NREL will lead the study, as one of six selected proposals to receive grant funding.  The study will focus on assessing and quantifying how modern Ternary pumped storage technology can solve the grid integration challenges facing renewable energy in the most cost-effective manner. To do so, advanced fast-acting pump/turbine technology will be paired with sophisticated transmission monitoring and control equipment to evaluate the proposed results of improved renewable integration; reduced development costs and timelines; updated comparisons with other conventional hydro and energy storage resources; and assess the replicability of this model throughout the United States.

 “We are looking forward to evaluating the full benefits of this system. Our goal is to demonstrate the improved flexibility of this approach and how it can be replicated to improve pumped storage hydro’s ability to integrate renewables,” said Mark Jacobson, NREL Senior Project Leader.

Based in Montana, Absaroka Energy is developing the 400-MW, closed-loop Gordon Butte Pumped Storage Hydro project. The Gordon Butte project is sited in Meagher County and located about three miles west of Martinsdale and less than six miles from the Colstrip twin 500-kilovolt transmission lines, the backbone of Montana’s electric system.  This interconnection location will give the facility access to markets in Montana and throughout the region and provide valuable installation cost and operational inputs to the proof of concept study.