Energy storage increasing emphasis for utilities around the world

The global interest in pumped storage remains strong, with several companies reporting developments associated with projects in the United States and China.

Recent highlights include:

Black & Veatch selected as owners’ representative for California’s San Vicente
The San Diego County Water Authority and City of San Diego have selected Black & Veatch as owners’ representative for their 500-MW San Vicente Energy Storage Facility.

The plant will be located at the San Vicente Reservoir near Lakeside, Calif. U.S., with a new upper reservoir, tunnels and underground powerhouse planned for construction.

Per the contract, Black & Veatch will assist in evaluating proposals, select service teams and negotiate project delivery agreements.

“Growing demand centers, particularly in drought-prone areas like southern California, require holistic water planning solutions,” said Black & Veatch Associate Vice President and Project Manager Kevin Davis. “This project would marry investments in water resilience with renewable energy deployment, helping to reduce greenhouse gases.”

SDCWA has previously said the project would help make up for generation lost following the closure of the 2,200-MW San Onofre nuclear plant, while also supporting its Emergency Storage Project.

The agency completed a 117-foot raise of the San Vicente Dam in 2014, adding a 152,000 acre-feet of storage capacity to its reservoir.

Voith awarded turbine deal for China’s Henan Tianchi
Equipment manufacturer Voith Hydro Shanghai signed a deal last month to provide four turbines, generators and auxiliary equipment for China’s 1,200-MW Henan Tianchi project.

Voith said the equipment will be completed by December 2020, with the first of the reversible, 400 MW Francis-type turbines scheduled to begin operation by September 2021.

The plant is located in Mashiping on the Huagya River and will be operated by Henan Tianchi Pumped Storage Co. Ltd., which is a subsidiary of State Grid Xin Yuan Co. Ltd.

Other recent pumped storage news from HydroWorld
Last week, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority announced it is considering the feasibility of a 500-MW project in Hatta, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with the GCC Interconnection Authority and Belgian Dredging, Environmental & Marine Engineering Group to conduct the study.

In Africa, the government of Morocco awarded a contract to French firm Vinci Construction to construct the 350-MW Abdelmoumen pumped-storage project.

Learning opportunities at HydroVision
With pumped storage becoming a major topic of conversation around the world, a number of sessions at the upcoming HydroVision International 2018 conference and exhibition have been dedicated to discussing it.

Of note are:

  • Session 3J: Trends in Energy Storage
  • Session 4F: Pumped Storage — How to Make it Work
  • Session 5D: Bold, Beautiful and Powerful — Case Studies of Large Conventional and Pumped Storage Projects
  • Session 6I: Pumped Storage — Integration and Reintegration

For more information about these conference sessions, visit

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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