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Archive for the category “hydro”

Doggerbank Pumped Hydropower Storage

Master thesis of Lucas de Vilder (2017), Technical University Delft in the Netherlands, exploring the possibility of a large scale inverse pumped hydro storage facility in the middle of the North Sea at the Dutch part of the Doggerbank. The idea is to build a ring dike of typically 40 meter high for pumped hydro energy storage purpose. The facility would be “inverse”, meaning that the dike would hardly be elevated above sea level. The required altitude difference between sea level and reservoir level is achieved by digging a deep basin rather than building a high dike.

Spoiler: For a preferred 25GWh storage capacity and 2.65GW of installed power the LCOS may vary from 68.2€/MWh to 19.0€/MWh of which 40€/MWh is found the most realistic. At an average Dutch power consumption of 13 GW, the storage facility would contain the equivalent of 2 hours of Dutch electricity consumption and could be released in 10 hours. The cost would be 3-18 times lower per unit of energy compared to batteries and power-to-gas.

A US study has shown that with 4-8 hours of storage you can cover 55% renewable energy. Let’s assume 6 hours. 13 GW average Dutch power means that 6 hours correspond to 6 hours x 13 GW = 78 GWh. In a graph below it is claimed that the cost of a 80 GWh storage is ca. 4 billion euro. For a country like Holland with an expected GDP of 888 billion euro in 2019 and public debt below 60%, that is absolutely doable. With such a storage in place, the Netherlands can roll out its intended 2 x 7 GW monster offshore wind projects “with two fingers in the nose” and buy a decade or so time to wait for longer duration storage solutions to emerge, most likely hydrogen or derivative ammonia. 80% or more efficiency at electrolysis of steam, rather than water, has already been realized.

[] – Offshore Pumped Hydropower Storage
(Link contains possibility to download pdf)
[] – Dogger Bank

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Pumped Hydro Storage in Belgium, Luxemburg and Germany

Coo-Trois-Ponts Hydroelectric Power Station

The largest pumped hydro storage power stations near the Netherlands:


Coo-Trois-Ponts – 1978, power: 1.16 GW. Location.

[] – Coo-Trois-Ponts Hydroelectric Power Station

La Plate Taille – 2003, power: 140 MW. Location.

[] – Lampiris


Vianden – upper 10.8 million m3, lower 7.2 million m3. Power: 220 MW. Altitude difference: 291 m. Location.

[] – Vianden Pumped Storage Plant

Esch-sur-Sûre – Power 11 MW. Location.

[] – Esch-sur-Sûre Dam
[] – List of power stations in Belgium

[deepresource] – NorNed


Herdecke – 1927, power 153 MW. Location.

[] – Pumpspeicherkraftwerk Herdecke

Rönkhausen – 1969, power 140 MW. Location.

[] – Pumpspeicherwerk Rönkhausen

[] – Liste von Pumpspeicherkraftwerken

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Interview Jan Huynen

Dutch language interview with Dr. Jan Huynen, who recently proposed an ambitious pumped-hydro storage project, using 1400 m deep abandoned Dutch coal mines:

[deepresource] – Pumped Hydro Storage for Flatlanders

Expansion Shoalhaven Pumped Hydro Scheme To 475 MW

[] – Shoalhaven Pumped Hydro Scheme To Double To 475 MW

Hoover Dam to Become Mega-Battery


Date of first operation: 1936
Primary reservoir: 35.200 km3, 180 km
Generating capacity: 2.080 MW
Annual generation: 4.2 TWh
Project cost: $3B
Date operational start hydro storage: 2028

[] – Hoover Dam
[] – Hoover-Damm soll Mega-Batterie werden
[] – LA To Turn Hoover Dam Into World’s Largest Hydro Storage
[] – The $3 Billion Plan to Turn Hoover Dam Into a Giant Battery

Switzerland – The Alpine Battery

Swiss hydro power generates 60% of the countries electricity.

[] – Electricity sector in Switzerland

More General Electric renewable energy drone videos:

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Pumped Hydro Storage Proposal for Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness

400 MW, 2.4 GWh pumped hydro storage plant proposed for Loch Ness by ILI Energy, enough to power 400,000 households for 6 hours. Scotland has 2.4 million households and in 2017 69% of its electricity generating capacity was renewable, mostly wind. By 2020 this share is expected to be increased to the full 100%.

[] – Major hydro project proposed for Loch Ness
[] – Scotland’s next Loch Ness monster could power 400,000 homes
[] – Loch Ness soll als Energiespeicher dienen

Overview Pumped Hydro Facilities in Europe

Goldisthal, largest PHS facility in Germany. Completed in 2004, 1060 MW, 8.5 GWh, 12/19 million m3 (upper/lower), 600 million euro.

[] – An overview of large-scale stationary electricity storage plants in Europe [2015]
[] – Europe to experience pumped storage boom [2013]

[] – Bath County Pumped Storage Station [USA]
Largest PHS facility in the world: 1985, $1.6B, 79% efficiency, 44 million m3, 3060 MW, 44 GWh, Voith-Siemens.

[] – List of pumped-storage hydroelectric power stations
(world-wide, over 1000 MW)

Can Norway Serve as Europe’s Battery Pack?


Arguments pro and con.

[] – Why Norway Can’t Become Europe’s Battery Pack
[] – The Debate Over Norway’s Ability to Become a Hydro Battery for Europe Is Surprisingly Robust
[] – Norway Could Provide 20,000MW of Energy Storage to Europe

Three Gorges Dam

[] – Three Gorges Dam
[] – Three Gorges Dam
[] – China’s Three Gorges Dam: An Environmental Catastrophe?

Norwegian Energy Policies

Stolsvatn hydropower plant

Norway is of central importance in the design of a pan-European renewable energy base. The country is sparsely populated and has mountains with large lakes, that can function as hydro storage basins for excess renewable energy from offshore wind from countries like the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. Although Norway is not a member of the EU, it does closely cooperate on many areas with Brussels, including energy.

Natural conditions for the production of HP in Norway are very favourable. Yearly precipitation in most of the country varies from 300/500 up to more than 2000 mm, and precipitation is rather evenly distributed over the year. There are large mountainous areas and mountain plateaus with high elevation and steep falls/short distances down to the lowlands/coastal areas. The high number of lakes provides ideal conditions for establishing reservoirs. They are key elements in the hydropower infrastructure as precipitation falls as snow 3-5 months during the winter season when runoff is at its lowest and electricity demand at its highest.

[] – Energy and Water Resources in Norway
[] – The Master Plan for the Management of Watercourses in Norway
[] – Hydropower in Norway
[] – Implicit Environmental Costs in Hydroelectric Development

[deepresource] – Norway Wants to Become Europe’s Battery Pack
[deepresource] – Norway Europe’s Green Battery
[deepresource] – NorNed
[deepresource] – Green Light For British-Norwegian Interconnector
[deepresource] – European Supergrid Submarine Cables – Inventory & Plans
[deepresource] – 1 kWh (=lifting a car to the top of the Eiffel Tower)

Battle Developing over Vjosa River in Albania

The Vjosa, situated in Albania, is Europe’s last unspoiled river. A large hydro-power dam is planned in the 270 km long river and the usual conflict between economic interests & increased wealth vs nature breaks out. Albania is already the “largest” hydro-power producer in the world in terms of share of the total electricity production palette (90% in 2011) and wants to increase this share to 100%. A Vjosa river dam could add another 400 MW. Other projects underway include Skavica, up to 350 MW and Devolli 400 MW.

Hydro-power in the balkans. Legend: black=existing, yellow=under construction, red=planned.

[] – Aoös
[] – Vjosa River, Europe’s Unknown Wild Jewel
[] – Albania Power Plant Approval Angers Greens
[] – Das letzte blaue Wunder Europas

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Africas Largest Hydro-power Plant Being Built in Ethiopia

Power: 6 GW
Cost: $6.4 billion
River: Blue Nile
Height: 175 meter
Width: 1800 meter
Elevation at crest: 645 meter
Dam volume: 10 million m3
Storage volume: 79×10E9 m3
Size lake: 1561 km2
Turbines: 16 x 375 MW Francis turbines
Purpose: turn Ethiopia in a “medium income country”
Contractors: Salini Costruttori (Italy) and Alstom (France)
Commission date: July 2017

[] – Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
[Google Maps] – Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

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The World’s Smallest Hydropower Plant

[] – Company site

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Dlouhé Stráně Hydro-Electric Powerstation

[] – Dlouhé stráně Hydro Power Plant
[Google Maps] – Dlouhé Stráně, Czech Republic

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Unconventional Pumped Hydro Storage

Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station, Ozarks, Missouri, USA

[] – List of pumped-storage hydroelectric power stations
[] – Pumped-storage hydroelectricity

[] – Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station
[] – Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station
[Google Maps] – Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station

Building an adequate energy storage system is one of the central challenges of the renewable energy transition. Pumped hydro storage is a very important option. Most people associate this with a dam in a valley behind which water can be pumped upwards in times of excess renewable energy available, in order for it to be released later, when the electricity is required.

But there are more options. One of them is building a large reservoir on top of mountain. Another one, attractive for the flatlanders, is building a high dike in the sea.

Loucna nad Desnou, Czech Republic.

Elevation: 510 m (highest in Europe),
Reservoirs: 2.7 million m3 (higher) and 3.4 million m3 (lower)
Pump-generators: 2 x 325 MW

[] – Dlouhé stráně Hydro Power Plant
[Google Maps] – Přečerpávací vodní elektrárna Dlouhé stráně
[] – Panoramic view. Note the lower reservoir.

Cortes-la Muela Powerplant, Valencia, Spain

More than 2 GW, generating 5,000 GWh/year.

[] – La Muela pumped-storage plant
[Google Maps] – Cortes-la Muela Powerplant

[source] So-called Plan Lievense, dating from 1981. With the massive Dutch multi-GW wind power plans for the North Sea, to be realized before 2023, some form of energy storage is inevitable. One of the options is building dike structure that allow for fluctuating water levels of up to 40 meter.

Design consists of a closed ring-shaped dike of ca. 6 x 10 km. Water levels will very from 32 to 40 meter under the water level of the surrounding North Sea. Lake surface area: ca. 40 km2. Storage capacity is more than 20 GWh (value 5 million euro consumer end price of 25 cent/kWh), sufficient to produce 1,500 MW during at least 12 hours to the national grid. this plan could be profitable from 9 GW wind offshore wind power, expected after 2020..

[] – Energie-eiland in de Noordzee
[] – Plan Lievense

Plan Brouwersmeer near the coast of the Zeeland province, an implementation of the Plan Lievense.

[Google Maps] – Brouwersmeer

Planning stage – energy island near Belgian coast

[deepresource] – Pumped Hydro Storage

Smart Hydro Power

The most visible application of hydro power are dams that artificially create large volumes of water, the potential energy of which can be converted into kinetic energy of water, descending in pipes.

The German engineering company Smart Hydro Power specializes in generating electricity from flowing, rather than from falling water, eliminating the need for dams.

[] – Smart Hydro Power Turbine
[] – Smart Hydro Power GmbH

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Iceland as a Potentional Renewable Energy Exporter


Iceland has a lot of vulcanic activity as a consequence of its location on top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge:


Iceland has a population of merely 326,000 people, living in a mostly uninhabited mountainous area of 103,000 km2. The mountain and vulcanic activity are interesting from an energy point of view: potential for hydro power and storage (larger than mountainous Italy or Spain), as well as geothermal energy (hot water), providing for 85% of the domestic energy needs. The rest comes from imported oil for transport. Iceland has quite a large hydrogen production capacity used in cars. Since 2012 Iceland is in talks with the UK about constructing a cable for transmission of electricity between the two countries. Electricity prices in Iceland and UK are 9 and 20 dollar cent/kwh resp., which offers potential for export from Iceland to the UK and the rest of Europe. Most potential for hydro power and geothermal energy has not been developed; the Icelanders are already by far the biggest energy consumers on the planet:

Translating over-all energy use (oil, gas, coal, nuclear, renewable) into kg oil equivalent/capita you get, according to the Worldbank:

Iceland 16,905
Canada 7,474
US 7,056
Russia 4,559
Germany 3,825
Ukraine 2,485
China 1,717
Senegal 260

So, how much potential does Iceland have to offer?

[Deutsche Welle] – Icelandic power export plans still a pipe dream
[] – Iceland Looks to Export Power Bubbling From Below
[] – Power under the sea
[] – Energy in Iceland
[] – In Iceland, Geothermal Energy is “Use or Lose It”
[] – Iceland’s volcanoes may power UK
[] – Icelandic hydroelectric power stations
[] – Hydro Power
Iceland’s precipitation combined with extensive highlands, has an enormous energy potential or up to 220 TWh/yr. Of the primary energy consumption in Iceland, in 2008, 20% was generated from hydropower. The total electricity production was in 2008, 12,5 TWh from hydro.

[] – Development of a methodology for estimation of Technical Hydropower potential in Iceland using high resolution Hydrological Modeling

Calculations were performed with this new method and results presented at an industry conference in 1981 (Tómasson, 1981). The calculations showed that total hydropower potential from precipitation was 252 TWh/yr, where the greatest potential was in the south-east, part of Iceland which has extensive glacial coverage and the least potential in the northern- and western part with less precipitation and lower elevation.


Pumped Hydro Storage In Scotland

Cruachan power station

As reported earlier, renewable energy is doing well in Scotland. But with the increase of that segment of energy generation, the need for storage becomes ever more prominent, considering the intermittent nature of renewable energy supply. The best remedy to date is pumped hydro storage, meaning: if you have too much supply of renewable energy, use that energy to pump water high up into a mountain reservoir and release that potential energy when energy demand is larger than the existing renewable energy system is able to supply.

Currently Scotland has two reservoirs used for pumped storage: Cruachan (1967, 400 MW) and Foyers (1969, 300 MW):


With increased exploitation of renewable energy, more facilities need to become available to even out intermittent supply. Two options:
1. Connection to the European Supergrid
2. New local hydro-pumped storage facilities

Two new facilities re planned for the Great Glen area with a combined capacity of 900 MW.

It has been calculated that if Scotland wants to keep storage matters entirely in its own hands, it would need 7 GW total pumped hydro storage capacity, ten times as much as is available now.

Strong opposition from environmentalists against more mountain hydro reservoirs exists, but it remains to be seen how much of that resistance remains, once push comes to shove and an average Scot is forced to stay in bed in a dark home, thinking about how he would like to have his environmentalist best: medium or well done.

Another option would be to combine large scale pumped hydro storage with battery storage at home, where matters are developing fast, with $100/kwh a possibility in the long term. Under these circumstances, for ca. $1,000 a family could store electricity for two days or more.

[] – Pumped Storage Hydro In Scotland
[] – Cruachan Power Station
[] – List of 10 Scottish hydro-electric power stations

Pumped Hydro Storage

Large energy storage facilities are an essential ingredient of future renewable energy systems to filter out unpredictable supply of renewable energy. Here a few videos about pumped hydro storage systems.

[] – List of existing and planned pumped hydro power stations

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