By Bill Connors: Premium Energy of Walnut Creek, California, has filed a proposal with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build a pumped storage facility utilizing water from the lower (western) basin of Ashokan Reservoir in Ulster County. The reservoir is fed by Esopus Creek, one of the most important fisheries in the Catskills; anglers who fish it with any regularity say it is the best stream in the eastern Catskills.
The Ashokan Reservoir is an important impoundment in the New York City reservoir system. The system delivers drinking water to an estimated 9.5 million people in the City and other communities in the Lower Hudson Valley.
It is a resource not to be trifled with.
Pumped storage could play an important role as renewable energy resources are developed. A pumped storage facility will store water at a high elevation and release it through a tunnel into a turbine when renewable energy resources are lacking because of lack of sun or low winds.
At stake is the health and well-being of the regional ecology, including the Esopus Creek, its tributaries, and the native wild trout that inhabit these cold-water streams; not to mention the communities in the watershed; and the municipalities that draw drinking water from the Hudson River.