U.S. DOE launches pumped storage hydropower valuation tool

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) recently launched the Pumped Storage Hydropower (PSH) Valuation Tool, a web-based platform that takes users through the valuation process presented in the Pumped Storage Hydropower Valuation Guidebook.

The guidebook was released in March 2021 to advance the state-of-the-art in assessing the value of PSH plants and their contributions to the power system.

One significant hurdle standing between the U.S. and its goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035 and a net-zero energy economy by 2050 is a lack of clean energy storage, DOE said. The good news is solutions are already available – chief among them PSH, which accounts for 95% of all utility-scale energy storage in the U.S. However, the development and deployment of new PSH projects is a large undertaking with high capital costs and can seem daunting without the ability to calculate the value of PSH plants and their associated services.

To help more developers accurately calculate the full value potential of a PSH project, a team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory created the PSH Valuation Tool to guide users through the 15-step valuation process. The platform features a back-end benefit-cost analysis tool, a price-taker valuation tool for small-scale PSH and a multi-criteria decision analysis tool.

The tool is available free to the public and will, when used in concert with the guidebook, help stakeholders make decisions about funding, approving and/or pursuing new or existing PSH project upgrades.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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