Pumped Storage Promise

by John Prendergast, Assoc. Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 6, Pg. 64-69

Document Type: Feature article


With many utilities facing potential shortfalls in generating capacity, pumped storage hydro plants could be a key to meeting peak-period energy demand in the 1990s. Pumped storage plants function like large storage batteries. Water is pumped from a lower reservoir to a higher one, then released to run turbine generators when demand peaks. There are hundreds of natural sites where the topography is suitable for a pumped storage plant, but environmental concerns about loss of wetlands and other issues and local opposition to construction have led some developers to propose building underground pumped storage projects, in which the lower reservoir is excavated below ground level. The article describes the prospects for pumped storage generally and profiles two projects: the Summit Energy Storage Project, a 1,500 MW plant in Norton, Ohio, about 10 mi from Akron, and the Mount Hope Hydro Project, a 2,000 MW plant in Rockaway Township, Morris County, N.J.

Subject Headings: Pumping stations | Water storage | Waste storage | Energy storage | Hydro power | Power plants | Reservoirs | Construction sites | Ohio | United States

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