Existing pumped hydro in China as at end of 2016 amounts to 26 Gigawatts compared to entire Australian installed coal capacity of 22 Gigawatts.
According to Qian Ganglian of China Renewable Energy Institute, at the end of 2016, the Hebei Fengning Pumped Storage Power Station (3,600MW) is the largest pumped storage power station under construction. The Guangdong Guangzhou Pumped Storage Power Station (2,400MW) and Guangdong Huizhou 1 Pumped Storage Power Station (2,400MW) respectively boast the largest installed capacity currently in operation. The station with the largest pump-turbine under construction is Guangdong Yangjiang Pumped Storage Power Station (400MW). The Zhejiang Xianju Pumped Storage Power Station (375MW) boasts the largest pump-turbine currently in operation. Zhejiang Changlongshan Pumped Storage Power Station has the highest head under construction with rated head of 710m, while the operational Shanxi Xilongchi Pumped Storage Power Station has a rated head of 624m).
While we vacillate over energy storage in Australia, China is surging ahead with construction of pumped hydro projects. Just counting pumped hydro projects under construction in 2016 their capacity exceeds the entire installed capacity of fossil fuel power stations in Australia. As at end of 2016 there are 26 pumped hydro installations under construction and amounting to a capacity of 32 GW. In Australia fossil fuel generators account for 32 GW made up of Coal 22 GW, OCGT 6 GW, CCGT 2 GW, and other Gas 2GW
China has embraced the need of storage in the network and clearly recognises the value of pumped hydro in a network with increasing penetration of renewable generation. The value proposition for pumped hydro is partly related to the long transmission lines from the wind and solar energy rich areas of the north west to the high demand areas of central and east china. In this respect the long transmission lines are reflective of Australia’s long thin network. Pumped hydro acts to flatten the peaky output of both wind and solar and make better use of, or postpone or eliminate transmission augmentation. In this way it can be considered a transmission asset rather than a generation asset and recognition of the value of this role will need some market adjustment in Australia.
Being a largely state owned electricity grid makes it easier to make decisions beneficial to the grid at large. Pumped hydro can reduce the overall cost of generation/transmission and in the past when our electricity generation and distribution were government owned, pumped hydro projects such as Tumut 3, Wivenhoe and Sholhaven were built. Yet in a market such as the NEM its not clear how it can reward pumped pumped hydro (or any storage) adequately as a commercial enterprise.
We see some progress now with the announcement of the Snowy Hydro 2 pumped hydro project and yet the feasibility study is being done by political decree and it will be interesting to see how the numbers stack up. AEMO proposed changes to the 5 minute rule for bidding and settlement may also help the numbers stack up.
In light of Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel’s final report on the review of the electricity market’s security, Professor Andrew Blakers said the new findings provided a valuable contribution to the national discussion on energy security.
“Our work shows that there are many sites in South Australia that may be suitable for establishing pumped hydro storage, to help build a sustainable, secure and affordable electricity grid,” said Professor Blakers, the study’s lead researcher from the ANU Research School of Engineering.
“This assessment is based on very appealing physical characteristics, but the 185 potential upper reservoir sites identified would require detailed due diligence involving land ownership, engineering, hydrological, environmental and other considerations.”
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing $449,000 support for an ANU-led feasibility study, aiming to develop a nation-wide atlas of potential off-river pumped hydro storage sites.
Last week, Forces Motrices Hongrin-Léman SA officially inaugurated Switzerland’s second most powerful pumped storage power station in Veytaux. With the FMHL+ project the capacity of the Veytaux pumped storage power station will be increased from 240 MW to 480 MW, with 60 MW acting as a reserve. To achieve this, two machine groups with 120 MW capacity each have been installed in a new cavern that has been constructed since 7 April 2011.
The pumped storage power station Veytaux will play a crucial role in supplying electricity to the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The project is the response to the increasing demand for balancing energy, which has been triggered by the rapid development of the new renewable energies that generate energy in an intermittent and fluctuating manner.
The existing power station consists of four 60 MW pelton turbines and the new additional capacity will be provided by two 120 MW generating units. The power station operates with a head of 800m from upper reservoir of Hongrin and is discharged into, and pumped from Lake Geneva.
They new units were constructed in an impressive cavern that is 100 m long, 25 m wide and 56 m high, and are controlled remotely by Alpiq’s Centre d’Exploitation et de Gestion de la Production in Lausanne. The construction work was carried out without major incidents and within budget. Veytaux pumped storage power station is Switzerland’s second most powerful behind the Linth-Limmern facility in the canton of Glarus.
The CHF 331 million invested by the FMHL partners – Romande Energie (41.14%), Alpiq (39.29%), Groupe E (13.14%) and the City of Lausanne (6.43%) – demonstrate their long-term vision within an energy context that is not very favourable for hydropower. The low wholesale prices on the European power market do not reflect the value of hydroelectric energy nor the essential role played by pumped storage power stations for the security of supply. Pumped storage power stations provide control energy that is indispensable for the balancing of the electricity grid and are currently the most efficient way of storing vast quantities of electricity and feeding them back into the grid when demand is high. Pumped storage power stations are essential in order to ensure the stability of the Swiss and European electricity grid in view of the rapid development of wind and solar energies.
Already rich in hydro, pumped storage can make better use of available resources, with Tasmania hoping to become the renewable energy battery for Australia. Prime Minister Turnbull announced plans to expand existing hydro capacity and add the possibilty of 2500 MW of pumped hydro.
ARENA will examine four large projects: Mersey Forth-1, Mersey Forth-2, Great Lake and Lake Burbury – with capacity of around 500-700 MW each – and an alternative of nine small scale sites totalling 500MW.
Turnbull says pumped hydro can further stabilise the National Electricity Market and underpin additional wind investment in the State.
This announcement also refers to the study by Dr John Tamblyn on the case for a second interconnector to the mainland. Dr Tamblyn’s report finds another interconnector might be beneficial, but will depend on the ongoing development of the electricity system in Tasmania and the National Electricity Market.
See full transcript of press conference at Trevallyn here.
A bill entitled the Bureau of Reclamation Pumped Storage Hydropower Development Act was heard by a US legislative sub-committee last week. If approved this bill could stimulate non-federal development of pumped storage hydropower using reservoirs under the control of the Bureau of Reclamation in the 17 western states.
This bill would amend the 1939 Reclamation Project Act to remove ambiguity by making it clear that pumped hydro using multiple reservoirs is encouraged. This would empower state, local and regional leaders to develop pumped hydro projects using reservoirs under federal control.
The US Bureau of Reclamation was established in 1902 and is best known for the dams, powerplants, and canals it constructed in the 17 western states. These water projects led to homesteading and promoted the economic development of the West. Reclamation has constructed more than 600 dams and reservoirs including Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and Grand Coulee on the Columbia River.
Reclamation is the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States. Their 53 powerplants annually provide more than 40,000 gigawatt hours of electricity. This is almost enough to power the entire state of Queensland which has an annual demand of around 50,000 gigawatthrs.
Engineering firm Lahmeyer International GmbH and sub-consultant Manitoba Hydro International have been awarded a contract by Tanahu Hydropower Ltd. to provide a number of services associated with the development of the 140-MW Tanahu pumped-storage project in Nepal.
In this Dec. 8, 2016 photo, Steve Burke and Jim Besha of Albany Engineering Corp. stand at the site of an abandoned iron mine in the Adirondacks, in Mineville, N.Y., where they’re seeking a federal permit to build an underground hydroelectric pumped storage project. The hills behind them are “tailings” leftover from crushing ore to extract iron from the mine that closed in 1971. (AP Photo/Mary Esch)
For more information read the full story at Penn Energy
Duke Energy announced plans to expand its 1,065-MW Bad Creek pumped storage project by 200 MW, with an anticipated completion date of 2023.
This upgrade was included in the Duke Energy Carolinas Integrated Resources Plan that was filed Sept. 1. The company plans to file a license amendment for this work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2017.
Work to increase capacity will involve installing a more efficient and powerful pump-turbine, a new generator and higher-rated generator output circuit breakers.