They can therefor run the water and the electric energy in both directions and provide great value both for the owner of the power plant and forr society.
Energy storage is necessary for the renewable society
In the ongoing transition from fossil energy sources to renewable energy sources in Europe, large amounts of energy storage are required, since the new renewable energy primarily comes from the sun and wind. Pumped storage plants can be used to store energy from sunny and windy days with less wind and sun. The amount of energy that is to be stored from unregulated renewables such as wind and solar, is so large that the current capacity of batteries today are not large enough.
Pumped storage, on the other hand, can store incredibly large amounts of electrical energy, and is currently the most used technology for large-scale energy storage in the world. In order to be able to handle the large amounts of renewable energy that are planned to be developed in the future, pumped storage plants will play a key role in ensuring energy storage and that we have electricity in the grid when it is needed.
Pumped storage can create a new "golden age"
In Norway, we currently have almost 2,000 hydropower plants, while we only have around 10 pumped storage plants. At the same time, Norway has approximately 50% of the total energy storage capacity in Europe in existing hydropower storages. This means we have a great potential when it comes to converting our existing hydropower plants into pumped storage plants. Large-scale development of pumped storage plants has long been expected to create a new golden age for the Norwegian hydropower industry.
Research on pumped storage plants is necessary to further develop the technology and develop solutions that provide higher efficiency, a wider range of applications, lower costs and less environmental consequences. New research from HydroCen has specifically dealt with the conversion of existing hydropower plants to pumped storage plants, which present special challenges as you have to deal with existing infrastructure and components.
Solutions for conversion to pumped storage
If smart solutions can be found for the conversion of existing hydropower plants to pumped storage plants, this can mean that many pumped storage projects can become economically attractive for Norwegian power companies, which in turn can make a significant contribution to the European transition from fossil to renewable energy sources.
There is a lot of research that is relevant to pumped storage plants in HydroCen:
- Variable speed for pumped storage machines (PhD Raghbendra Tiwari)
- Conversion of Francis turbines to reversible pump turbines (PhD Helene Dagsvik)
- Reconstruction of the tunnel system for the upgrade of a hydropower station to a pumped storage station (PhD Livia Pitorac)
- The effect of hydraulic transients on the stability of hydropower tunnels (PhD Bibek Neupane)
- Large-scale conversion of existing hydropower systems (AlternaFuture)
- Self-flushing sand traps for pumped power plants (PhD Ola Haugen Havrevoll)