A hydroelectric plant in the US state of California has been brought on line one year ahead of schedule. According to the California Energy Commission, Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet is the first new generator in the state for six years.

Owned by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of California, the new facility will initially provide power for 13,000 households, increasing to 40,000 once the reservoir is completely full next year.

Four hydroelectric turbines were retrofitted onto the 6000hp reservoir pumps after California entered into the energy crisis. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave fast-track approval for the project, and the pumps were converted during May and June.

Filling began at Diamond Valley reservoir in early 2000 and is scheduled to hold 986M m3 of water when full, sometime in 2002. Power is generated by running water through the turbines before it is sent to water agencies in Riverside and San Diego counties. Energy produced at Diamond Valley is being sold to the Independent System Operator.