Pumped hydro energy storage – making better use of wind

● By Tim Forcey, University of Melbourne ● In late September, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) released a report investigating how wind can better be integrated into the power grid. AEMO reports that as more wind turbines are deployed over the next seven years, constraints on the way our electricity grid works – including bottlenecks in the system – mean there may be limits on how much wind-generated electricity we can use. AEMO has not yet investigated what long-term solutions exist to avoid curtailing wind. But a joint study by the engineering and consulting company Arup and the University of Melbourne Energy Institute is looking at one possible solution. Electricity system operators and investors could use pumped hydro energy storage to complement the growing deployment of renewable energy. The current grid struggles to push power through when it is being generated in large quantities, and to meet demand when generation is low. Storing energy from wind using pumped hydro means the electricity wouldn’t have to be sold as it is being made, but could be saved for later. A pumped hydro facility consists of two water reservoirs at different elevations. To store energy, water is pumped from the lower reservoir to the higher one. To generate electricity, water is returned to the lower reservoir through a turbine. This gigantic battery can be used to overcome the wind-related grid constraints AEMO identified. In our research we have found that, for Australia, the best technology may be pumping seawater up to coastal cliff tops. Pumped hydro is by far the most significant form of large-scale energy storage used globally. It makes up 99% of all large-scale energy storage. Unlike conventional river or stream-fed hydroelectricity generation, it does not require a continuous supply of water. This makes pumped hydro less sensitive to drought cycles (although allowances must be made for losing water to evaporation) ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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