There are approximately a total of 530,000 potentially viable pumped hydropower storage sites around the world, with a total storage potential of some 22 million GWh.
These staggering figures come from a recently published report by Professor Andrew Blakers and other researchers from the RE100 Group at the Australian National University.
Pumped hydroelectric plants already make up 97% of electricity storage worldwide due to their low cost, according to ANU, and the share of wind and solar PV in the electricity grid is increasing sharply year over year. This means that “additional long-distance high voltage transmission, demand management and local storage are required for stability.”
ANU researchers identified the potential sites and their potential using geographic information system (GIS) analysis.
The storage potential of some 22 million GWh ” is about a hundred times greater than that necessary to support a 100% renewable electricity system worldwide, ” says ANU. A rough guide to 100% renewable electricity storage requirements, based on an analysis for Australia, is 1 GW of power per million people with 20 hours of storage, which is equivalent to 20 GWh per million people.
The identified places are outside the national parks and are mostly closed-loop (not river). Each identified site comprises an upper and lower deposit pair plus a hypothetical tunnel route between the deposits. It includes data such as latitude, longitude, altitude, height, slope, water volume, water area, rock volume, dam wall length, water / rock ratio, energy storage potential, and approximate relative cost. In a future analysis, wastelands (existing reservoirs, old mining operations) will be included.
In this comprehensive global atlas of pumped hydropower storage locations, users can navigate anywhere in the world and zoom in for detailed images. Users can explore thousands of sites in specific locations, ordered by size and cost of investment. Clicking on a reservoir or tunnel route opens pop-up windows with detailed information.
The facilities that the map refers to are like some of those we have talked about in eco-inventions, such as the Loch Ness Pumped Hydroelectric Storage Plan, or the Swiss underground hydroelectric plant that generates renewable energy for 1 million homes. Based on the same principle we speak of the first hybrid wind-hydraulic turbine.
Note: None of the sites analyzed in this study have been the subject of geological, hydrological, environmental, heritage or other studies, and it is not known whether any particular site would be suitable. The commercial viability of the development of these projects is unknown. Land ownership has not been investigated, except for the exclusion of some environmental and urban areas, and no discussions have taken place with land owners or managers.
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You can check them at: nationalmap.gov.au