Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some commonly asked questions.

If you have additional questions, please contact us:

Pumped storage facilities rely on gravity to produce energy. The system moves water between a lower reservoir and an upper reservoir. When energy from the grid is plentiful, this excess energy is used to pump water from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir. Then, when demand for power is high, water is released from the upper reservoir and used to turn hydroelectric turbines to generate on-demand electricity.

The system is filled with water once, and then re-uses that water, over and over. It repeats the cycle, continually storing and dispatching on-demand energy.

No. Pumped storage hydro facilities have been in use for more than a century, and are a well-established form of energy storage around the world. According to the 2021 US Hydropower Market Report, there are more than 40 pumped storage projects currently operating in the U.S.

Pumped storage facilities are the most common form of energy storage in the US, representing 93% of all utility scale storage according to the US Dept. of Energy. Pumped storage is a proven, available technology that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, dependence on fossil fuels, and improve job prospects and energy resiliency in the area.

Rye Development is a renewable energy company that specializes in the development, financing, and operation of hydroelectric power generation facilities. The company was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida. It also has a regional office in Portland, Oregon.

Rye Development has demonstrated expertise in studying and navigating the FERC licensing process and developing meaningful community partnerships. The company has several pumped storage hydropower projects in development across the United States, including the Goldendale Energy Storage Project in Washington State and the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project in Oregon. The company also develops conventional run-of-river hydropower facilities.

Southeastern Kentucky has delivered affordable and reliable electricity to the people and businesses in the region for a long time. But as we retire aging fossil fuel infrastructure we need to find new ways to store and generate electricity to ensure the reliability of the grid.

Pumped storage is a critical component of the clean energy mix, providing a reliable and flexible energy source that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round. Pumped storage projects like Lewis Ridge can offer energy certainty during weather and blackout events and deliver affordable and dependable electricity for generations to come.

The Lewis Ridge Pumped Storage Project, proposed at the site of a former coal mine, has all the criteria needed for a successful pumped storage solution. This includes topography and elevation, access to transmission lines, water availability, and an entrepreneurial landowner — all critical and unique factors that are required for a viable pumped storage location.

The Lewis Ridge Pumped Storage project meets all of these conditions, and is located entirely on private land that has long played a proud role in Eastern Kentucky’s energy industry.

The Lewis Ridge Pumped Storage Project is expected to create 1,500 family-wage jobs and apprenticeship opportunities over its 3-4-year construction period, in addition to dozens of direct and indirect permanent sustainable-wage jobs. Electricians, laborers, and heavy machinery operators are among the high-paying workers who will be employed by the project.

By partnering with Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), which represents the 54 ARC counties in Eastern Kentucky, Rye Development is working to ensure that the benefits of the Lewis Ridge Pumped Storage Project are far-reaching and have a positive impact on underrepresented and disadvantaged communities.

Hydropower already accounts for nearly all of Kentucky’s renewable electricity generation. Pumped storage hydro is another form of hydropower that can help Eastern Kentucky maintain low energy prices and avoid power outages.

Unlike dams, closed-loop pumped storage systems do not require building new infrastructure on a river. A closed-loop pumped storage system consists of two reservoirs that are filled with water once. It re-uses that water over and over to “recharge” the system. A minimal amount of water is added to the system annually to compensate for evaporation.

In comparison, open-loop pumped storage systems are continuously connected to a naturally-flowing water feature like a river, commonly resulting in additional impacts to the water and land that are avoided with closed-loop facilities.

It would provide 8 hours of energy storage daily.

The Project is located on private lands primarily owned by Asher Land and Mineral.

The proposed site of the Lewis Ridge Pumped Storage Project is suitable for re-development. No additional clean-up of the site is required.