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Dubai embarks on study to build 400MW pumped hydro storage island

  • Jan 21, 2019
Utilities Middle East

Dubai is exploring the possibility of building a 400MW pumped hydro storage island that will add to existing efforts towards diversification of its electric power generation.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) and the Belgian Dredging, Environmental & Marine Engineering Group (DEME) for a study to be conducted. The MoA aims to study building a 400MW pumped hydro storage power station in the Arabian Gulf, with a storage capacity of approximately 2,500MWh. This is part of DEWA's efforts to diversify the energy mix and enhance energy storage technologies.

The project is expected to be the first of its kind in the region.

"This innovative project builds on DEWA's success in launching a 250MW pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in Hatta. It will make use of the existing water stored in the Hatta Dam, and an upper reservoir to be built in the mountain," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, CEO and MD, DEWA.

"What characterises this innovative project is that only one reservoir will be constructed. Water will be pumped from the Arabian Gulf using solar-powered turbines. When energy demand increases, and production costs are high, turbines operated by the speed of waterfall from the upper reservoir will be used to generate electricity, with an immediate response to energy demand."

Al Tayer noted that hydropower is the most important source of energy storage. Stored hydropower has the biggest share of the world's operational electricity storage.

One key advantage of pumped-storage facilities is that they integrate with different renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, which are non-flexible power supply options as they are affected when the wind drops or the sun is covered by clouds.

This makes pumped-storage hydropower an important source for energy storage, as water is stored when excess energy is produced, and then used when energy demand is at its highest during peak hours.

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