September 05, 2023: A new study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has found that pumped storage hydropower is the greenest renewable energy technology. The study, which was published in the journal “Nature Energy,” found that pumped storage hydropower has a lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions intensity of 11 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour (gCO2e/kWh), which is significantly lower than other renewable energy technologies such as solar photovoltaics (24 gCO2e/kWh) and wind power (15 gCO2e/kWh).
Pumped storage hydropower stores water at a higher elevation than a second reservoir. When electricity demand is high, water is released from the upper reservoir to the lower pool, generating electricity. When electricity demand is low, water is pumped back to the upper reservoir, storing energy for later use.
The study found that pumped storage hydropower has several advantages over other renewable energy technologies. It is dispatchable and can be turned on and off to meet electricity demand. It is also scalable, meaning that it can be built to meet the needs of large or small power grids.
The study also found that pumped storage hydropower can help improve the power grid’s reliability. By storing energy, pumped storage hydropower can help to smooth out fluctuations in electricity demand and supply.
The study’s findings are a significant boost for pumped storage hydropower, a mature technology that has been in use for over 100 years. Pumped storage hydropower is already being used in many countries worldwide, and the study’s findings suggest that it has the potential to play an even more significant role in the future of renewable energy.
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