A new research study states that pumped-storage hydropower offers a cost efficient, highly optimal solution for moving high energy volumes. Currently, around 173 gigawatts of energy reserves are active and moving across the globe. This transfer of energy is to balance the growing demands on the power grids.
PSH or pumped storage hydropower accounts for nearly 98 percent of that overall capacity. This makes it the most preferred type of energy storage. It also is the most cost effective energy storage option as well. These findings are as per the recent research study report by PNNL.
With its ability to store and pump hundreds and thousands of gigawatts of energy, PSH is an extremely cheap storage option. PSH uses large bodies of water to store and pump energy and its overall cost ratio is less than other available options. Furthermore, PSH is almost three times less expensive than the next best option of lithium-ion batteries.
Changing Ways of Power Storage and Transport
A general PSH facility has about two water reserves. It also has a waterway for connecting these reserves. And it has a power station with a turbine and pump. At the time when the energy costs are down, water is stored at higher levels by pumping it through the power station. When there is a need for power, water is then released in the lower reservoir. Turbines are used for generating electricity as the water moves from higher levels to lower levels. The overall energy capacity of a PSH can be as big as 40 gigawatts-hours.
According to the chief economist at PNNL, Patrick Balducci, this is what helps PSH stands out. He believes that PSH game changing ability lies in the fact that it can reduce the constraints on regional transmission. Moreover, it can also provide regional balancing or frequency services and integrate large renewable scales at lower costs.