U.S. DOE announces prize intended to accelerate development of pumped storage hydro

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) Commissioning for Pumped Storage Hydropower prize, intended to support the development of pumped storage hydro (PSH).

The prize seeks novel solutions and technologies that address the non-regulatory challenges PSH developers face deploying new storage projects and supports the goal to reduce the time to commission PSH from its current 10 years to less than five, DOE says.

DOE says today’s electricity system is changing rapidly, creating new opportunities for hydropower and PSH to contribute to system resilience, reliability and affordability. PSH is a key storage technology that supports increased integration of variable generation resources. However, large capital investments and long lead times required to get PSH projects commissioned serve as deterrents to would-be developers and utilities.

The FAST Commissioning Prize provides cash and in-kind laboratory support prizes. The goal of the prize is to catalyze new solutions, designs and strategies to accelerate PSH development. Concepts could include innovative PSH concepts, new layouts, creative construction management, improved construction equipment, application of advanced manufacturing, or standardization of equipment.

In the first stage, 10 finalists will be selected to receive 50 hours of support over about three months from the FAST national laboratory partners in preparation for a pitch contest with up to three winners and up to $950,000 of combined cash prizes and vouchers support.

This prize is part of a $2 million effort conducted by DOE in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory that will leverage the technical expertise, facilities and marketing reach of the national laboratory network to ensure maximum visibility, technical applicability and impact.

The national laboratories also are developing an analytical baseline framework to help industry and understand the costs, time and risk associated with PSH.

The first stage of the prize closes on May 24, 2019. Click here to learn more about the FAST Commissioning Prize.

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