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Pumped-Hydro Storage

Pumped storage hydroelectricity is a type of hydroelectric power generation used for providing services like energy management, frequency control, and reserve capacity.

The method stores energy in the form of water, pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation. Low-cost off-peak electric power is used to run the pumps. During periods of high electrical demand, the stored water is released through turbines. Although the losses of the pumping process makes the plant a net consumer of energy overall, the system increases revenue by selling more electricity during periods of peak demand, when electricity prices are highest.

An alternative concept for Pumped Hydro is to use wind turbines or solar power to drive water pumps directly, providing a more efficient process and usefully smooth out the variability wind and solar energy captured.

Pumped storage is the most widespread energy storage system in use on power networks. Over 90 GW of pumped-hydro storage, representing approximately 3% of global generation capacity, are currently installed worldwide. Pumped-hydro storage plants are characterized by long construction times and high capital expenditure and could play a significant role in integrating variable renewable energy resources.

 

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