Pumped Storage Hydro Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
Tennessee and Alabama
Pumped storage hydropower (PSH) is a type of hydroelectric energy storage that consists of two water reservoirs at different elevations in which water can be pumped to the higher elevation reservoir during periods in which energy storage is needed and then can be released during periods when energy is needed on the electrical grid. PSH is utilized for long-term storage to provide for reserves on the grid, use excess energy to store water in the higher reservoir when demand drops below the base load generation, and to support intermittent generation for renewables such as wind and solar. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is currently studying adding more PSH within its service area by building new PSH facilities or expanding the existing PSH at Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant (RPS).
A new facility would be similar in design to the existing Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant, near Chattanooga, TN, with a new upper reservoir constructed on a mountaintop adjacent to an existing reservoir on the Tennessee River. Proposed new PSH plants consist of water conveyance tunnels and an underground powerhouse constructed by tunneling within the mountain. New PSH plants are sized for at least 1,600 megawatts (MWs) of generation for approximately 12 hours to 20 hours.
An expansion of the existing RPS would consist of constructing another underground powerhouse and another series of water conveyance tunnels to connect the existing upper reservoir with the existing Nickajack Reservoir. The new powerhouse would be capable of at least 800 MWs of generation. Additional storage in the upper reservoir by excavation could be considered.
TVA is preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for evaluating potential PSH site locations in Jackson County, Alabama and at the existing Raccoon Mountain PSH Plant in Marion County, Tennessee for the potential construction at one or more sites as the need for long-duration energy storage increases.
TVA is working on a draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement that will take into consideration comments received during the public scoping period (June 22-July 5, 2023). The draft will be released for public comment in late 2024.
TVA held a virtual public meeting on June 22, 2023. A recording of this meeting can be found through the link below.
A public open house was held on February 23, 2023. Presentations from the open house can be found through the links below.
More information on this environmental review can be obtained from: