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Pumped-Storage Hydropower

 

2021 ATB data for pumped-storage hydropower (PSH) are shown above. Base Year capital costs and resource characterizations are forthcoming and will be based on a national closed-loop PSH resource assessment being undertaken under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) HydroWIRES Project D1: Improving Hydropower and PSH Representations in Capacity Expansion Models. Operation and maintenance O&M costs and round-trip efficiency (RTE) are based on estimates for a 1,000-MW system reported in the 2020 DOE Grid  Energy Storage Technology Cost and Performance Assessment(Mongird et al., 2020). Projected changes in capital costs are based on the DOE Hydropower Vision study (DOE, 2016) and assume different degrees of technology improvement and technological learning. 

The three scenarios for technology innovation are:

  • Conservative Technology Innovation Scenario (Conservative Scenario): no change from baseline CAPEX and O&M costs through 2050
  • Moderate Technology Innovation Scenario (Moderate Scenario): no change from baseline CAPEX and O&M  costs through 2050, consistent with the Reference case in the DOE Hydropower Vision study (DOE, 2016)
  • Advanced Technology Innovation Scenario (Advanced Scenario): CAPEX reductions based on improved process and design improvements along with advanced manufacturing, new materials, and other technology improvements, consistent with Advanced Technology in the DOE Hydropower Vision study (DOE, 2016); no changes to O&M.

Resource Categorization

Resource categorization is forthcoming and will accompany the national closed-loop PSH resource assessment. Resource classes will be differentiated by cost as well as other factors that could include reservoir size, generating capacity, storage duration, and dam height. 

Scenario Descriptions

Cost reductions in the Advanced Scenario reflect various types of technology innovations that could be applied to PSH facilities. These potential innovations, which are discussed in the DOE Hydropower Vision Roadmap (DOE, 2016), are largely similar to technology pathways for hydropower without pumping.

Summary of Technology Innovation: Advanced Scenario

 ModularityNew MaterialsEco-Friendly Pumps & TurbinesInnovative Closed-Loop Concepts
Technology Descriptions"Drop-in" systems that minimize civil works and maximize ease of manufactureUse of alternative materials for water diversion (e.g., penstocks)Innovative approaches to improved environmental performanceOff-river designs allowing better combined economic and environmental performance
ImpactsReduced civil works costReduced construction material costsReduced environmental mitigation costsReduced environmental costs and increased modularity and standardization
References(DOE, 2016)(DOE, 2016)(DOE, 2016)(DOE, 2016)

Representative Technology

Representative technology characteristics will be included with the forthcoming national closed-loop PSH resource assessment.

Methodology

This section describes the methodology to develop assumptions for CAPEX, O&M, and RTE. 

Capital Expenditures (CAPEX)

Resource characterizations are forthcoming and will accompany the national closed-loop PSH resource assessment.

Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Costs

Mongird et al. (Mongird et al., 2020) characterize PSH O&M costs using a literature review of current sources of PSH cost and performance data. For the ATB, we use cost estimates for a 1,000-MW plant, which has lower labor costs per power output capacity than a smaller facility. O&M costs also include component costs for standard maintenance, refurbishment, and repair. O&M cost reductions are not projected due to technological maturity, so they are constant and identical across all scenarios.

Round-Trip Efficiency

RTE is also based on a literature review by (Mongird et al., 2020), who report a range of 70%–87% across several sources. The value of 80% is taken as a central estimate, and no improvements are projected due to technological maturity, so they are constant and identical across all scenarios

References

The following references are specific to this page; for all references in this ATB, see References.

Mongird, Kendall, Vilayanur Viswanathan, Jan Alam, Charlie Vartanian, Vincent Sprenkle, and Richard Baxter. “2020 Grid Energy Storage Technology Cost and Performance Assessment.” USDOE, December 2020. https://www.energy.gov/energy-storage-grand-challenge/downloads/2020-grid-energy-storage-technology-cost-and-performance.

DOE. “Hydropower Vision: A New Chapter for America’s Renewable Electricity Source.” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy, 2016. https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2018/02/f49/Hydropower-Vision-021518.pdf.


Developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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