Premium Energy proposes reservoirs where?

By Deb Murphy

Picture this: a pipeline from either the Owens River or the Lower Rock Creek gorge up to reservoirs on Wheeler Ridge with an adjoining slue from the ridge back down to reservoirs in the gorges. Is this a water slide gone mad or a hydroelectric project waiting on a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission?

If you guessed the latter, you’re right.

Premium Energy Holdings, LLC out of Walnut is the mastermind behind this project which begs the question: has the company ever met the Eastern Sierra?

The application went to the FERC in late March. The cynics at last week’s Inyo County Water Commission meeting thought the project laughable at best, a scam at worst. One key may be on the final page of the application. The estimate on the cost of the project study is $5 million which would come from Premium’s “available funds” and through investors.

None of the local interested parties were directly informed. Mono County found out indirectly, according to Wendy Sugimura, Mono’s economic development head. Inyo National Forest Supervisor Tammy Randall-Parker sent a letter last Thursday to Premium reminding the company the “elements appear to be proposed in the John Muir Wilderness” and referring managing director Victor Rojas to the appropriate website.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is not involved, according to Sugimura, nor was it on the list of interested parties. That omission was probably a mistake since LADWP has had water rights on the Owens River water since 1903.

Premium has developed two alternatives each to be built out in three stages: a series of reservoirs on Wheeler Ridge supplied by water from either Rock Creek, with three reservoirs created by dams in the creek gorge, or the Owens River, again with three reservoirs sitting behind dams in the gorge. Water would be pumped to the Ridge reservoirs, then sent back down to new power plants adjacent to a proposed transmission line. Premium describes the system as a “closed loop.”

At full build-out, both the upper and lower reservoirs would hold from 15,100 to 15,750 acre-feet of water.

Premium’s application is limited to preliminary studies that include land surveys, test pits and core holes. Temporary access roads to the ridge and both Lower Rock Creek and the Owens River gorges will be required as part of this initial project study.

While the whole project seems far too ridiculous to get through the FERC, it’s worth keeping an eye on.

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20 Responses to Premium Energy proposes reservoirs where?

  1. Larry tuce May 12, 2019 at 5:39 pm #

    The citizens of inyo/mono counties have been through the ringers enough, we will not allow this counting br ruined again. Remember MONO LAKE!

  2. Peter Smith May 9, 2019 at 6:57 am #

    FERC will dismiss the application because it cannot issue a preliminary permit to a project in a wilderness area.

  3. Larry May 8, 2019 at 8:22 am #

    How will all this far flung infrastructure be built cost effectively to withstand earthquakes, fires, wind etc?

  4. Philip Anaya May 7, 2019 at 7:09 pm #

    Hyperbolic cliché pronouncements do nothing to discuss the merits of this terrible proposal . I would rather hear facts, figures from you like, where are they going to get the energy to pump waters up over 6,000 feet in elevation, in giant 16 foot in diameter penstocks (pipes). And I’d rather hear you calling me out about transmission alternatives . Lets discuss the pros and the cons of the proposal and you betcha, we are lucky and already have in the Eastern Sierra sustainable renewable electrical energy for the computers, the electric razors and more. We also have folks who struggle to make ends meet . Thankfully the Eastern Sierra also has people who are there for their neighbors much more so than many other places.

  5. David Dennison May 7, 2019 at 3:44 pm #

    magaman (LOL! )….gimme a break !!…so much concern for the “poor and disadvantaged” people and where and how they live…and talking of the “renewable energy project”….you know,I know, we all know,and those on “the right” know,all about the $$$$ and nothing else…”free enterprise”,money-making schemes maybe making millionaires billionaires….wanting to make the rich richer…stepping on whoever and whatever they can to try to get it,whether it’s the environment,the Wilderness areas,whether it’s got two legs or four legs…there are plenty of big cities and areas that would and will embrace the thought,and believe the lies being told to them,about how such a project,or anytype of scam would benefit everyone and everything in their backyard and area where they live and enjoy…not here….this,just a bunch of crap that’s never going to happen….really not even worth talking about or debating.

  6. Magaman May 7, 2019 at 6:24 am #

    Predictable responses from the hypocritical NIMBYs of the Left.

    They want their “renewable energy” to run their computers and electric razors.

    But when a renewable energy project is proposed in their precious part of the world they flip out.

    Build it somewhere else they say – where poor and disadvantaged people live.

    We are simply too wonderful here in God’s country to be sullied by such things.

    • Inyo Citizen May 7, 2019 at 8:29 am #


    • Valaya Gaudet May 11, 2019 at 11:49 am #

      Then why do you live here, Magaman with the ridiculous name? Isn’t it because you like being in God’s country?
      There are other ways to generate clean energy without destroying the environment. Read this: “It is not too soon for the U.S. to complete the basic development of the fastreactor/pyroprocessing system for metallic fuel. For the foreseeable future, the hard truth is this: only nuclear power can satisfy humanity’s long-term energy needs while preserving the environment.” taken from
      That’s just one example.

      By the way, if you want to be taken seriously, have the guts to show your real name.

  7. David Dennison May 5, 2019 at 8:23 pm #

    Philip Anaya…..Good post,with good facts,even though some of it way above me…except for the parts about environmental impact this would do,and knowing no way in hell would LADWP ever accept or allow anyone or anything to tap into the aqueduct….but with “magaman’s (LOL ! )” post ,I think we all know what it’s all about…his moniker says it all….all about the $$$$ for his “free enterprise” and little else….hell with the land,the environment,the wildlife,what the people want,only thing that should matter any is lining some pockets for the multi-million dollar companies and the rich…the good thing about it is….it ain’t never gonna happen….we have people living here,environmental groups,and what I like to think people elected into our Counties and State that would oppose anything even close to this ever to happen…not what we see in Washington D.C. nowdays,a bunch of liars and ass-kissers bowing down, that go along with anything their “magaman” sitting in the white house says to do and say..

  8. Philip Anaya May 5, 2019 at 5:45 pm #

    Would like to see the source of your misrepresentation of the local benefits to the Eastern Sierra of this proposal. First, this proposal is supposedly to provide peak hour energy to So Cal. The Owens Valley is already energy sustainable with our hydroelectric, our geo thermal and limited solar generation of electricity.
    The alternative energy transmission options offered in the proposal are not viable. The Inyo Rinaldi Transmission Line (Alternate 1) does not have an available 5200MW capacity and this Project does not have a priority queue position. Inyo Rinaldi has already been upgraded from Barren Ridge substation south and there are sufficient projects already in the Queue that would be interconnected before this project, Alternate 2 , interconnection to the Pacific Intertie (PDCI) is a pipe dream. The PCDI was rated at 1100 MW until upgraded in 2004 to 3100 MW. There was a proposal in 2012 to take it to 3800MW , not certain at this time what became of that but how do you add 5200MW to a empty 3100 or even a 3800 MW line let alone a line that is already at capacity.. Alternate 3, a new 5200MW DC Transmission Line buried in the LA Aqueduct Corridor, what an expense . What an idea that LADWP would never accept. Despite the appearance of a project that is beneficial to the renewable energy progress this one smells of fake facts and gross environmental harm to our Valley and the John Muir Wilderness areas. Folks and our elected representatives have their fingers on the pulse of this boondoggle project proposal. Visitors to the Eastern Sierra provide the economic support that allows many living here to dwell, to embrace and protect the region from misadventures of profit motivated individuals who would attempt once again in our local history to desecrate these lands. Visitors and the vast majority of us who love these lands and are so fortunate to live here will forever oppose this project and any others so vile.

  9. David Dennison May 3, 2019 at 4:55 pm #

    ….magaman (LOL!)…..The local politicians are supposed to be working for us…not just into money making scams and schemes…let’s hope our local politicians aren’t the same kind of con-men and liars as the politicians they got working in and for the white house now….let’s ask the people living here in Inyo and Mono Counties what they think and want as far as destructive and stupid ideas from outside investors coming here, building dams in the Gorge and along the Owens River,damaging Wilderness, effecting wildlife and our recreation areas .ain’t never gonna happen…see my above post about the “Cougar Gold” scam a few years back…see how that “free enterprise” con-job was wanted and accepted by the locals and our environmental groups… with this one,even more-so ridiculous than that was back then…as Deb Murphy states at the end there…”FAR too ridiculous”…never gonna happen……

  10. Magaman May 2, 2019 at 6:24 am #

    Instead of whining, our local politicians should be glad these folks are bringing their ingenuity and foresight to the Eastern Sierra.

    This project will provide cheap energy and economic prosperity to this region.

    Free enterprise at its best!

    • Valaya Gaudet May 11, 2019 at 11:33 am #

      Have you been to Wheeler Crest? Or are you just sitting in front of your TV spewing nonsense?If you think this project will bring prosperity to this part of the Sierras, you are deluding yourself. The only thing that this will bring is electricity to Los Angeles at our expense. If you don’t like the Eastern Sierras, why don’t YOU move to Los Angeles and get a job there.

  11. Chris May 2, 2019 at 5:24 am #

    Fierce opposition for sure, and the proposed location is pretty offensive, but this is the reality of 100% renewable energy.

    Pumped storage is one proven method for storing the otherwise inconvenient generation from wind and solar. Battery technology isn’t there… Beacon got a 10MWh battery (that’s a dead battery after supplying 10MW for one hour); baseload for the city is something like 2000MW in perpetuity.

    In 25 years, the load will be even greater as we move to electric appliances and cars, compounded by population increases. The storage capacity is a necessity, It’s going in someone’s backyard.

    As to wilderness and water rights: everything is for sale at the right price, in the right political climate.

    • shastatodd May 13, 2019 at 8:41 am #

      “In 25 years, the load will be even greater as we move to electric appliances and cars, compounded by population increases.”

      um, no… there are limits to growth on our finite planet and we are there now. technologod is no savior.

  12. Philip Anaya May 1, 2019 at 7:19 pm #

    The documents for the project are available at:

    Type P-14984 into the Dockett Number box to access the documents.

  13. Mammothite May 1, 2019 at 7:38 am #

    Mr Jones, I would agree there is going to be a fight. Do you have a position on this?
    I’d like to know how this state is supposed to reach this 100% renewable goal?
    We as a state need to explore opportunities. For god sake most if not all the lakes in the front country are reservoirs.

    I hate that most of our water goes to LA and much of is wasted.

    What is you position or are you unwilling to let us know.

    • Charles O. Jones May 1, 2019 at 8:27 am #

      I’d have to know more about it to have a firm opinion one way or the other. As always, the devil is in the details. But based on the history with outside investors, and the close connections that many locals and visitors have to the land, I think this project would likely see fierce opposition.

  14. David Dennison May 1, 2019 at 6:00 am #

    ….Like Charles O.Jones says,they’ll have one hell of a fight on their hands….remember a few years ago when that mining operation “Cougar Gold” wanted to get up and into the Bodie Hills doing exploratory mining in that Wilderness area,with their lies and promises of hiring “hundreds of locals ” and how it would make Bridgeport a “boom town with a great economy ” ?…and then their threats when the locals and town council weren’t moving fast enough for them to get it going and started ?…wasn’t one of the “leaders” of that group of liars a former campaign manager for Sara Palin ?….LOL !!!!…enough said.

  15. Charles O. Jones April 30, 2019 at 5:32 pm #

    I think Premium Holdings LLC would have a fight on their hands that they can’t even begin to imagine.


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