Swan Lake Hydro Project

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, February 15 2012 at 4:19 PM, Updated: Wed, February 15 2012 at 4:32 PM

A financial backer has been found for a two billion dollar energy storage project in Klamath County.

Swan Lake property owner Lauren Jespersen says the new partnership with the company could take the Swan Lake project from licensing through construction...  "Today's announcement is that the Swan Lake pump storage project has it's large investor.  The large investor is EnXco."

The Swan Lake hydro project would store energy from wind and solar power.  When power is needed, water would be released through turbines from an upper reservoir to a lower reservoir. 

The project would be built in the Grizzly Butte area of Swan Lake, northeast of Klamath falls.

But not everyone's in favor of the project...  Tina Young says she's concerned about the possible impacts on the Swan Lake wetlands, and high voltage power lines:  "There are problems with those towers.  That's why they're so tall, because they're dangerous.  And our property values - our quality of life."

But backers say the project would provide jobs and money to an area that needs both.  Lauren Jespersen says that if all goes well, "Start of construction would be the first quarter of 2014, and if construction goes as planned, we're looking at 2017 for when the facility becomes operational."

The project will still need to get a green light from the Federal Energy Regulatory commission.

Jesperson adds that the project would create about 300 construction jobs, and about 50 permanent jobs once the facility is operational.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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