Context: The government has taken various steps recently in order to ensure that Pumped Storage Projects (PSPs) get commissioned on a fast track, thereby accelerating the growth of India’s renewable energy capacity.
To cite a recent example, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has accorded concurrence to Upper Sileru Pumped Storage Project (PSP) of 1350 MW being developed at Sileru, Alluri Sitharama Raju district of Andhra Pradesh by APGENCO (A Government of Andhra Pradesh Undertaking) in record time of 70 days against the stipulated timeline of 90 days.
What is Pumped Storage Hydropower?
- Pumped storage hydropower (PSH) is a type of hydroelectric energy storage.
- It is a configuration of two water reservoirs at different elevations that can generate power as water moves down from one to the other (discharge), passing through a turbine.
- The system also requires power as it pumps water back into the upper reservoir (recharge).
- PSH acts similarly to a giant battery, because it can store power and then release it when needed.
- During periods of excess electricity supply or low demand, typically when renewable energy sources like wind or solar are producing more electricity than needed, the excess electricity is used to pump water from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir, thereby storing the energy. This pumping process usually takes place during off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper.
- When there is a demand for electricity or during periods of high demand, the stored water in the upper reservoir is released back to the lower reservoir.
- As the water flows downhill, it passes through the turbine, which generates electricity. The electricity generated can be dispatched to the grid to meet the demand.
Importance of Pumped Storage System for India’s Energy Future
- Hydro Pumped Storage Projects are necessary to achieve Government of India’s commitment of 500 GW installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by the year 2030 and Net Zero carbon emissions by the year 2070.
- PSPs will help integrate intermittent Renewable Energy with the Grid. It will enable supply of dispatchable RE power and help in meeting the peaking requirement of the Grid.
- In recognition of its role, 39 Hydro PSPs of 47 GW are being pursued to be commissioned by the year 2029-30.
- Pumped Storage System utilises surplus grid power available from thermal power stations or other sources to pump up water from lower to upper reservoir and reproduces power during peak demand when there is scarcity of power.