A new report outlining the investment case for pumped storage hydro has set out 20 key benefits of the technology’s UK expansion. The DNV study, funded by the Scottish Government, SSE, and ScottishPower, also identifies the political and economic barriers facing “one of the most cost-effective options for grid-scale energy storage”. The GB electricity system already benefits from 24GWh of pumped storage capacity, split across four sites, largely in Scotland. Around another 50GWh has planning permission – enough to cover close to the UK’s total peak electricity demand for an hour. The report, titled The Benefits of Pumped Storage Hydro to the UK, outlines the benefits of the technology. Summarised, they are:
- Providing system services and alleviating network congestion costs by storing excess generation in constrained zones for later use, thereby avoiding or deferring investment in network reinforcement
- Avoiding waste of low carbon electricity during periods of low electricity demand, and avoiding the environmental impact of new transmission infrastructure
- Security of supply: pumped storage hydro is the most economical storage technology for the long discharge periods required to contribute to security of supply.