At night, during low demand for electricity, the pumps force water 363 feet uphill from the lake into the reservoir. The plant takes advantage of the natural steep sand dune landform of eastern Lake Michigan. During periods of peak demand water is released to generate power. Electrical generation can begin within 2 minutes.
This process helps level the load of coal-fired power plants on the grid. It also replaces the need to build natural gas peak power plants used only during high demand.