Pumped storage hydropower could be the U.K.'s best answer to creating a more flexible and low carbon energy system, according to DNV GL's Tuesday report commissioned by Scottish Renewables.
It is "one of the most cost-effective options for grid-scale energy storage,” the report said.
Benefits of pumped storage hydro include lower system costs which in turn result in cheaper costs to electricity consumers, reduced carbon emissions, better supply security and a more resilient electricity system, the report shows.
Increasing pumped hydro would also enable other renewable energy resources to join the power system, the report said.
The system allows for storing energy in high water reservoirs at off-peak times when electricity costs are low. At peak demand times, the water is then released from the upper to the lower reservoir through turbines that generate electricity and are then injected into the grid.
The U.K. already has a capacity of 24 gigawatt-hours of pumped storage, largely located in Scotland and has a 50 gigawatt-hour capacity of pumped hydro in the planning phase.
"New storage assets will be valuable to enable the development of a more efficient and more secure low carbon energy system at a lower cost to customers," the report says.
Failure to invest in pumped storage systems could lead to increased use of gas-fired and diesel generation which could increase greenhouse gas emissions, and increase electricity bills for end consumers, the report argues.
By Zeynep Beyza Kilic