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Research and Development  
9 November 2017

Pumped storage projects now measurable through new tracking tool

More than 100 pumped storage hydropower projects totaling some 75 GW of new capacity are in the pipeline around the world, according to a new online tracking tool.

The new Hydropower Pumped Storage Tracking Tool – developed by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) – maps the locations and vital statistics of existing and planned projects.

The interactive tool was launched by the IHA at the COP23 climate conference in Bonn, Germany this week.

Tracking tool shows global rise in pumped storage

According to the tracking tool, the 100 planned projects will increase existing global storage capacity by 50%, from 150 GW to almost 225 GW, the IHA said in a statement.

The first of these projects will come on line in 2018, and the majority will be operational by 2030.

World’s ‘water batteries’

The IHA explains that pumped storage hydropower, otherwise known as the world’s ‘water batteries’, is the cleanest and most cost-effective form of energy storage existing today.

Adding that it makes up more than 95% of global energy storage, next to less than 5% combined for thermal, electromechanical and electrochemical storage, including lithium batteries.

Richard Taylor, chief executive of the IHA, said: “Pumped storage is the cleanest battery on earth, simply cycling water between two water bodies at different elevations.

“It takes surplus electricity in the system and stores it for use when it is needed. Switching between modes of pumping and generating in seconds, it ensures that renewables generation is not curtailed in the electricity system, and supply and demand are harmonised.”

Taylor added: “This tracking tool is the most comprehensive online resource of its kind. It shines a light on the enormous contribution of pumped storage to meeting the battery demands of clean energy systems, with very high efficiency.”

The tracking tool is designed for policy-makers, investors and researchers. It shows the status of a pumped storage project, its installed generating and pumping capacity, and its actual or planned date of commissioning.

The latest pumped storage technology offers essential ancillary services such as electric frequency control and voltage regulation, in order to ensure stable and reliable operation of power grids. Along with conventional hydro, it is also a leading solution for restarting a grid after a black-out.

Find the Hydropower Pumped Storage Tracking Tool here: hydropower.org/pumpedstoragetool

 

Featured image: The International Hydropower Association (IHA)

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