California Considers Pumped Hydro in Pursuit of Bigger Batteries

A backup of potential energy source has sprung to life deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Renewable Energy World reported.

According to the report, the huge system of reservoirs and turbines can store energy during the day and then generate electricity for 900,000 homes by utilizing just water and gravity.

Officials of the California state wanted to make wind and solar work full time, but such projects are quite expensive and face challenges and opposition.

The said drive by California and other states to revive “pumped hydro storage” emphasizes the limitations of modern batteries. Facilities such as the one in the Sierras can produce far more electricity than anything made by Tesla Inc.

The Project Manager for a proposed pumped storage facility near San Diego, Neena Kuzmich said, “It is not as glamorous as a battery, but it is a tried and true technology that provides the volume that we need.”

The report also stated, “California’s goal to get 100 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045 will require an unprecedented amount of energy storage. lithium-ion battery installations produce a few hundred megawatts of electricity at most. The 35-year old plant in the Sierras – PG&E Corp.’s Helms Pumped Storage facility – can deliver more than 1,200 megawatts at a clip.”

BloombergNEF Storage Analyst Yayoi Sekine said, “They provide a great level of flexibility and are essentially a massive battery. The challenge for pumped hydro is the very high capital costs and long development times.”

However, environmentalists in California are bashing pumped storage projects not only for their effect on the wild but also for the excessive use of water.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has proposed transforming the Hoover Dam into a massive pumped storage facility while the San Diego County Water Authority intends to establish a reservoir uphill from a present one in order to develop a storage system.

Learn more about this report by reading the full article here.

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