Tag Archives: pumped storage hydro

Green Mythology: Tidal Base-load Power in the UK

Scientists working at The University of Liverpool and the NERC Proudman Oceanic Laboratory have developed elegant computer simulations of electricity generation from tidal barrage and tidal flow power stations deployed in the Severn Estuary and the East Irish Sea. The models show that no combination of tidal system from this area can produce continuous and uniform base-load generation. Despite this, these workers conclude that it can. Adding pumped storage hydro provides an economical and practical way to smooth out daily fluctuations but cuts peak output by over 50%. Large-scale deployment of tidal stations will modify coastlines that deploying renewable energy is supposed to prevent. Continue reading

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The Bingham Canyon pumped hydro project – by far the world’s largest, but still much too small.

Some of the larger-scale options (pumped hydro, CAES, FLES etc.) presently being considered for storing intermittent renewable energy rely on the existence of holes in the ground, often man-made ones, to make them work. In this post I take as a hypothetical example the world’s biggest man-made hole (the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, Utah, shown as viewed from space in the inset) and fill it with water from the Great Salt Lake 25km to the north to get an idea of how much untapped hydro storage potential Bingham and other holes like it might offer. I find that Bingham has the potential to store about 3TWh, which would make it by far the largest pumped hydro facility in the world. 3TWh of storage, however, is nowhere near enough to support an all-renewables world, and there just aren’t that many more big man-made holes like Bingham around. Continue reading

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The Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Hydro Scheme

Scotland is to get a new pumped storage hydro scheme, not in the Highlands but in the Scottish Borders. With a capacity of 400 MW and an estimated 1.7 GWh of storage this plant can make a meaningful 4 hour contribution to peak generation every day. But wooly arguments made about smoothing intermittent renewables makes it unclear if this commendable strategy is the intended use. Continue reading

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El Hierro August 2016 performance update

During August the hybrid wind-hydro Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant achieved 55.6% renewables generation, higher than the 47.9% achieved in August 2015 but lower than the 65.9% achieved in July. The decrease relative to July was a caused by wind lulls and the increase relative to 2015 was a result of two periods of 100% renewables generation totalling 79 hours. Total renewables generation since full operations began at GdV in June 2015 is now 38.7%, up from 37.8% at the beginning of the month. Continue reading

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El Hierro Renewable Energy Project – End 2015 Performance Review and Summary

The Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant on the Canary Island of El Hierro is a flagship project designed ultimately to provide the island with 100% renewable electricity and to demonstrate that hybrid wind/pumped hydro systems can be used to generate 100% renewable electricity in other parts of the world.

The data accumulated since full operations began on June 27, 2015 are sufficient to show that the GdV plant as presently structured is not capable of supplying 100% of El Hierro’s electricity demand for 100% of the time.
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El Hierro Renewable Energy Project – October 2015 Performance Review

The Gorona del Viento (GdV) renewable energy plant on the Canary Island of El Hierro is a flagship project designed ultimately to provide the island with 100% renewable electricity and to consign its diesel generators to history. GdV comprises a wind park with 11.5 MW capacity and a pumped hydro storage plant with 11.3MW capacity, installed at a total cost of €84 million. Since operations began in June of this year the plant has not performed up to expectations. This is the second in a series of operational updates. Continue reading

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Chira-Soria – Another Flawed Renewables Project

To the east of El Hierro, where the Gorona del Viento wind-pumped hydro project has attracted international attention, Gran Canaria is developing a wind-solar-pumped hydro project that has so far attracted very little attention outside Gran Canaria. Continue reading

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Flat-land Large-scale Electricity Storage (FLES)

A few weeks ago I attended a small, commercial, energy storage conference in Brussels organised by Energywise where I heard a most intriguing talk on building a large pumped storage hydro scheme in Holland. The talk was delivered by Dr Jan Huynen, the president of SOGECOM who struck me as being a very serious energy engineer. The project is nearing fruition, with a €1.8 billion price tag and 1.4 GW of supply for 6 hours yielding 8 GWh per daily cycle, this is no toy. Holland is of course totally flat! Is this just another Green pipe dream? Continue reading

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The Loch Ness Monster of Energy Storage

The UK had splendid weather in April. With high pressure over the North Sea we had 8 days of splendid weather at the beginning of the month (2nd to 9th of April) and 10 days of splendid sunshine during the second half (15th to 24th April) (Figure 1). This of course left our massive fleet of wind power stations idling. 12 GW of installed capacity produced less than 1 GW for much of that time and less than 0.2GW for some of the time. This affords the opportunity to put some numbers on the energy storage requirements to survive lulls such as these. Continue reading

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