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Is Pumped Storage Hydropower an Overlooked Solution to our Global Energy Balancing Problems?

Francis Hydro Turbine

This is a question that was discussed during the first meeting of the International Forum of Pumped Storage Hydropower where Mine Storage is a partner. The forum, led by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and the U.S. Department, addresses the urgent need for clean and reliable energy storage.

There is a clear need to overcome a number of barriers both from a technical perspective and to push for market reforms to better enable PSH-projects, known as the ‘world’s water batteries’. Much of this was discussed during the forum.

The forum hosted a large number of international leaders within pumped storage. For example, the US Department of Energy emphasized the important role that pumped storage plays in the energy system. However, they also addressed some challenges for PSH, such as complex permitting processes and inconsistent compensation compared to other technologies. They also underlined, that there is more to PSH than levelized cost of storage (LCOS), and that there is need for a better conception of the value to the grid.

Another challenge for PSH that was discussed during the forum is that PSH is often referred to as an “old technology” that has seen little innovation for decades. Pumped storage technology is indeed a mature technology, however, it can nowadays be operated with variable speed units lowering response times and making it effective for demanding frequency regulation.

The forum agreed upon certain concrete actions for next gathering, such as comparisons of storage technologies, cost and performance benchmarking including financing, a PSH potential roadmap, and an innovation roadmap. The team at Mine Storage looks forward to the next gathering and contributing to this global initiative!

“We believe that this is a great initiative to develop policy proposals and exchange knowledge between a broad spectrum of players that are involved in pumped storage hydropower”, says Thomas Johansson, CEO, Mine Storage International.

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