sources and its ability to operate independent of larger grid
systems. This makes small
hydro particularly attractive
in developing regions such as
Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province,
which, with the help of more
than US$325 million allocated by the Asian Development
Bank in November, hopes to
build 1,000 micro-hydro projects in the coming years. Similar, albeit smaller, initiatives
have been announced in other
countries as well in an effort
to help wean communities off
fossil fuel-based systems.
Pumped storage already
accounts for 97 percent of
energy storage capacity
worldwide, and, as generators
look to balance an increasing
number of other renewables,
its importance will only continue to increase.
China continues to be the
worldwide leader both in
terms of installed capacity
and projected growth, with a
target of having 70 GW-worth
of pumped storage by 2020.
Elsewhere, other signifcant
pumped-storage projects have
been announced in recent
months, including 400-MW
Glenmuckloch (Scotland), 250-
MW Al Hattawi (Dubai), and
1,600-MW Sunkoshi 2 and 3
(Nepal), amongst others. In
addition, the 1,480-MW Linthal (Switzerland), 1,332-MW Ingula
(South Africa), 1,000-MW Tehri (India), 430-MW Reisseck 2 (Aus-
tria) and 840-MW Zagorsk 2 (Russia) projects all came on line
through the past year.
Pumped-storage development in the U.S. has historically
lagged behind much of the world, due in no small part to diff-culties faced by utilities in categorizing pumped-storage resources for tariff eligibility. That could change, however, following a
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC) in November that would allow
utilities to receive more compensation for the ancillary benefts
pumped storage can provide to grid systems.
MHK — which includes tidal, wave and riverine technologies — is arguably the most dynamic sector of hydropower in
terms of research and development, although it remains one
still very much in its early stages. Still, MHK has made signifcant headway toward becoming commercially viable, as equipment entered the water and became operational at several sites
around the world through the past year.
Europe remains the leader in MHK advancement, with the
European Marine Energy Centre, MeyGen, Galway Bay Marine &
Renewable Energy Test Site, Shetland Tidal Array, Paimpol-Bre-hat, Ruiz Blanchard pilot program and Isle of Wight projects all
calling the continent home. Europe’s authority in MHK is also
The 610-MW Jocassee pumped storage hydro generating facility located
in South Carolina. An increasing industry trend pairs pumped storage like
this one with intermittant renewables like wind and solar. Credit: Duke
Energy via Flickr.