Baseload

eStorage Project report quantifies 2,291 GWh of new pumped hydro possible in Europe

Development-ready sites, with existing reservoirs for new pumped hydro energy storage plants, offer generation potential of 2,291 GWh, according to a newly released report from the eStorage Project. These sites are in the EU-15, Norway and Switzerland.

The 2,291 GWh identified in the study is more than seven times the current installed capacity of pumped hydro energy storage in Europe and more than enough to supply Malta’s electricity consumption for a year, according to a press release. It would require 95 million lithium-ion batteries of the type found in most electric cars to provide equivalent energy storage.

Southern Norway is the region with the most potential feasible capacity, with 1,242 GWh or 54% of the study’s total. This is followed by the Alps with 303 GWh or 13% (Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany) and the Pyrenees with 118 GWh or 5% (France and Spain).

The eStorage Project is an EC-funded consortium of major European stakeholders from the entire electric power value chain. The eStorage Project has been tasked by the EC, under its FP7 program, to develop cost-effective solutions for the widespread deployment of flexible, reliable, GWh-scale energy storage across the EU and to enhance grid management systems to allow the integration of a large share of renewable energies.

Pumped hydro energy storage plants are the only mature cost-effective and flexible means for GWh capacity storage of electricity, eStorage Project says. By transferring water between two reservoirs at different elevations, they can deliver electricity when the system needs it (for example on a calm day when there is little electricity produced from wind generation) and they can store electricity from excess generation of wind and solar plants.

DNV GL conducted the study and focused exclusively on existing water body pairs because of the cost advantages of connecting existing water bodies rather than building new reservoirs. DNV GL developed a GIS model to identify potential locations for new pumped storage plants. The potential locations from the model were further refined by national hydro experts using regional or country specific selection criteria. “The qualitative review by leading national hydro experts is what really sets our study apart,” says Haike van de Vegte, senior consultant at DNV GL.

The complete report is available here.