Very large-scale pumped hydro energy storage in West Virginia
- Nov 12, 2021 9:56 pm GMT
As the transition to solar & wind gathers pace, West Virginia has a major economic opportunity to provide very large-scale pumped hydro energy storage for the eastern half of the USA. The USA has 35,000 good sites, mostly in the western mountains. Good sites in the east are less common and will command higher value.
West Virginia is the fifth largest energy producer in the US. It has major reserves of coal and gas, a moderate solar resource and small wind and hydro resources. Although it might appear that West Virginia will be a loser from the shift to solar & wind, the presence of many off-river pumped hydro sites is a major offsetting economic opportunity.
When solar and wind displace all fossil fuels in the eastern states, there will be a requirement for several Terawatt-hours of storage energy and several hundred Gigawatts of storage power for balancing. The required investment is several hundred billion dollars. West Virginia has sufficient off-river pumped hydro sites to capture a significant fraction of this storage opportunity.
Most pumped hydro is in the west. Eastern pumped hydro has extra value.
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