SMUD is studying the potential for building a pumped-storage system near Iowa Hill, a few miles from Camino in El Dorado County. This would be an addition to our existing hydroelectric system. It would expand SMUD's production of clean energy in our region, help meet peak demand for power, and allow us to integrate additional supplies of intermittent wind and solar energy, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
The pumped-storage project would add 400 megawatts of generating capacity to SMUD's hydroelectric system. It would allow us to reuse water from Slab Creek Reservoir and make more efficient use of existing resources, a critical plus in dry years.
The project would require construction of a new, off-stream reservoir 1,200 feet above Slab Creek Reservoir, a new underground powerhouse, and tunnels connecting the two reservoirs. Construction would take about five years, employing an estimated 235 workers and benefiting the economy of El Dorado County.
Project timeline, maps and diagrams
- General Location Map and Site Arrangement Drawing
(Site arrangements are preliminary and may be subject to change)
- Concept Drawings: View 1 and View 2
SMUD has been working with the greater Apple Hill community since 2001 to explain the Iowa Hill proposal, answer questions and listen to feedback. In 2005, we signed a cooperation agreement with El Dorado County.
In addition, El Dorado County agencies, recreational advocates and other stakeholders participated in a collaborative process that led in 2007 to a comprehensive agreement on how SMUD should operate its hydro system in the decades to come, with Iowa Hill as part of the long-term energy solution.
The SMUD Board of Directors is expected to decide by 2017 whether to build the project. In the meantime, SMUD will continue to work closely with the community to address questions and concerns.