Water/Energy Bank Proof-of-Concept

Innovative State Water Project Delivery Scheduling Shifts has Potential to Significantly Lower Summer Electric Peak Demand

Antelope Valley Water Storage, LLC


Lancaster, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

This project was completed in July 2019. The technical and final reports are complete. Using the Edmonston pumping plant for the analysis, implementation of the Recipient's recommendations would lead to an average peak load reduction of 60 MW from July to September based on a normal water year. A notable finding is the possibility of converting the Water-Energy Bank into an energy neutral operation through the use of 40 MW of solar arrays and 5 MW of hydropower. The Recipient presented the Water-Energy Bank concept at the Demand Response & Distributed Energy Resources World Forum on October 16, 2018 and American Water Works Association CA-NV spring conference The Recipient also plans to publish results in journals and disseminate results at future conferences after the end of the grant period.

The Issue

The State Water Project (SWP) which transports water annually from the northern part of the state southward is California's largest user of electricity - about 2% of the State's anticipated 2020 peak demand. A significant portion of the electricity is used to pump water over the Tehachapi Mountains which involves a nearly 3000-foot lift in elevation. The issue is whether SWP contractors can be incentivized to shift their water delivery schedules to non-summer months to optimize energy benefits and whether there can be a guaranteed peak load reduction in the summer months when electric grid demand is at its highest levels.

Project Innovation

This proof of concept study evaluated the feasibility of using groundwater storage and cycling surface reservoirs to shift the State Water Project's Southern California water deliveries to non-summer months to reduce summer electric grid peak demand. Shifting the timing of water deliveries could reduce solar and wind power over-generation risk during non-summer months when renewable energy is in surplus. This project investigated the technical, institutional, legal and economic feasibility of implementing a guaranteed water delivery shift and develop demand response and load shifting tools and strategies to manage peak load and demand and thereby reduce energy costs in the water sector.

Project Benefits

The project could lower peak demand on the electric grid during Summer months when power demand is at its highest levels. This will increase the reliability of the electric grid system, reduce the use of peaker plants that operate on fossil fuels to meet system demand and operating margins, and lower Department of Water Resource's water transport costs by shifting electric demand to non-summer months when demand and energy rates are lower.

Lower Costs


By implementing the recommendations found by this research study, the State Water Project (SWP) contractors could eliminate the need to meet peak electricity needs using fossil-fueled combustion turbines due to summer reductions

Environmental & Public Health

Environmental Sustainability

Implementing the recommendations from this study has the potential to increase use of renewable energy generation during periods of over generation by pumping water through the State Water Project during these times. Use of renew

Greater Reliability


Implementing recommendations from the research study could improve electric grid reliability by providing a guaranteed summer pumping reduction that provides firm demand response to match the evening ramp up as solar arrays go of

Key Project Members

Project Member

Mark Beuhler



Energy & Environmental Economics, Inc.


Water and Energy Consulting


GEI Consultants, Inc.


HDR Engineering, Inc


Match Partners


Antelope Valley Water Storage, LLC


Contact the Team