Small and Low Head Pumped Storage Projects

by A. Hassan Makarechian, Stone & Webster Engineering Corp, Denver, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '91: A New View of Hydro Resources


With the recent completion of several very large pumped storage projects, the perception of a hydroelectric pumped storage project in some power industry circles may be that of a project over 1000 MW in capacity, costing over a billion dollars, and with a licensing and construction schedule of over 10 years. The purpose of this paper is to focus attention on small and low head pumped storage projects. These projects may be defined as having a capacity of less than 200-300 MW and down to about 20 MW, with heads of 1200 ft (365 m) to about 300 ft (90 m) or less. Many advantages of these smaller pumped storage projects include more flexibility in siting of a project, considerably shorter licensing and construction period, adaptability to closed system design concept to reduce adverse environmental impacts, considerably reduced risks of delays and substantial cost over-runs, better suited to meeting peaking capacity requirements for individual utilities, and much less transmission inter-connection requirements. An overall licensing and construction schedule of about 3 to 3 1/2 years is realistic for many smaller pumped storage projects, and competitive costs in terms of dollars per kW installed can be achieved. Technical data for storage requirements, penstock sizing, and equipment characteristics for various heads and installed capacities are presented.

Subject Headings: Construction costs | Licensure and certification | Head (fluid mechanics) | Waste storage | Energy storage | Scheduling | Hydro power | Water storage

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