U.S. NHA submits pumped storage hydropower policy paper to PSH forum

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As part of the International Forum on Pumped Storage Hydropower, the National Hydropower Association has submitted a pumped storage hydropower (PSH) policy paper aimed at identifying challenges and solutions to jump start development in the U.S.

The forum is co-chaired by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and U.S. Department of Energy. NHA co-authored the U.S. Markets and Policy Paper with General Electric, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and PSH developers.

The co-authors raise several challenges for accelerating PSH development in the U.S., including: a lack of renumeration for various grid services, demonstrating the value of PSH over other storage technologies, inequitable policy treatment and revenue uncertainty.

“As we accelerate the deployment of wind and solar, the need for substantial amounts of long duration storage becomes more apparent,” said Cameron Schilling, vice president, market strategies and regulatory affairs, NHA. “Pumped storage is the only proven, cost-effective long duration technology that can integrate large amounts of variable resources. Unfortunately, wholesale markets, state policies and federal tax incentives don’t adequately value the clean energy resource for its grid benefits. With this paper, we are hoping to shine a spotlight on the challenges that are preventing the development of pumped storage.”

The four-page paper identifies eight recommendations for policy changes across multiple jurisdictions including Congress, wholesale markets and state level policies. Some recommendations aim to make improvements to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensing process, but many of the proposed changes involve ensuring PSH is considered fairly among other storage technologies, that its services are properly valued in wholesale markets and that it receives adequate treatment in federal tax incentives.

The U.S. paper will become part of a larger global paper identifying challenges and solutions around the world to speed up the deployment of PSH to meet aggressive climate goals. In addition, two other working groups focusing on sustainability as well as on technology capabilities, costs and innovation will develop guidance about how sustainable PSH can best support the energy transition.

NHA is a nonprofit association based in the U.S. and dedicated to promoting the growth of clean, renewable hydropower and marine energy.

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