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SRP hydro project aims to create renewable energy when solar is not readily available

Arizona’s congressional delegation has introduced legislation to help clear the way for Salt River Project to build a new hydro power facility, which will help the utility generate renewable energy when solar power is not readily available.

SRP wants to build a small reservoir about a thousand feet above Apache Lake.

It will use that water to generate electricity.

During the day, solar power will help move the water back uphill.

The project would create a renewable energy loop that operates day and night.

The utility is working with Tonto National Forest and the Bureau of Reclamation to pinpoint a site for a new reservoir, said Ron Klawitter is with SRP.

"So this project is a way to diversify our energy storage portfolio," Klawitter said, "in addition to lithium ion batteries which we’re already deploying on our system, and also enable us to operate more flexibly.

The utility estimates it will take a decade to complete the project.

Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.