LUDINGTON, Mich. ( Associated Press) – Asphalt and clay ponds on a blueprint over Lake Michigan are holding enough water to generate electricity for 1.6 million households.
It is part of the Ludington pump storage plant.A simple technology that draws water from the bottom of the reservoir – in this case the lake – to the top and is then released by turbines that go downhill.
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.
Hydropower Industry Pump Storage is the best answer to the question of when to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy to tackle climate change.
I wish we could build 10 more of these. I fell in love with Eric Gustad, Consumer Energy Community Affairs Manager during a visit to the Ludington Institute.
But the facility in Jackson Michigan has no plans. Environmental and logistical challenges and billions of costs led consumers to relocate near the lake years ago. It is currently owned and operated by DTE Energy.
“Building a new one doesn’t make sense financially,” says Gustad. “I haven’t seen it happen recently unless we get some help from the state or the federal government.”
Stuck in neutrality
The company’s decision highlights the challenges facing pump storage in the US. These systems hold up to 93% of the backup power in backup. Analysts estimate that demand for energy is growing, but industry growth has been slow for decades.
The country has a total capacity of 43 pump storage units. The result of that many nuclear factories. Only a small operation has been added since 1995 – and it is unknown how much of the planned overdue delays will overcome the economic, regulatory and logistical barriers.
Three projects have been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but none are under construction. Long-planned Oregon facility developers Expect work to begin in 2023. Montana Company Licensed five years ago, construction will need to be used to run the plant and purchase its storage capacity before construction can begin.
In contrast, more than 60 are estimated to be under construction worldwide, mainly in Europe, India, China, and Japan.
Malcolm Wolf, president of the National Hydropower Association, says the licensing process is “crazy.” In January, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee complained that it included several agencies.
Although FERC approves new facilities and licenses existing ones, other federal, state, and tribal offices have a role to play, said Celte Miller, a spokesman. “Every project is unique. They all have different issues, ”she said.
According to the industry, the investment tax credit is the same as that earned by solar and wind. A better plan to build President Joe Biden would require tax relief, but it is stuck in Congress.
Pump storage days in the early 1930s. But most systems are built decades later to store excess electricity from nuclear plants and to release it when needed.
The storage facilities serve as a safety net in the event of a power outage. A.D. When the New England nuclear power plant went offline in 2020, Wolff “did not flash the lights in Boston” because two pumping stations provided backup power.
Nuclear, coal, and natural gas factories can run continuously, but wind and solar cannot – so the reserve power market can grow. National Renewable Energy Laboratory Models show that US storage capacity could increase by five times by 2050.
“Over the next few years, we will bring hundreds of gigabytes of clean energy into the grid and we will be able to use that energy where and when it is needed,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm last year.
Location, location, location
Using computer mapping, Australian National University Engineers have identified more than 600,000 “possible” pump storage stations worldwide – including 32,000 in the US – that could store 100 times the energy needed to support a renewable energy network.
However, the study did not investigate whether the sites met environmental or cultural conservation criteria or were commercially viable. His website states, “Many or even most … may be inappropriate.
Environmentalists are optimistic about pump storage because reservoirs are often created by hydro power dams, which block the flow of fish, deplete water quality, and release methane. Also, most plants regularly draw water from rivers.
However, the latest designs see “closed-loop” systems that affect surface or ground supply and then rotate the water repeatedly between reservoirs. Water is added only for evaporation or extinction.
Water Power Improvement CoalitionOn behalf of the security forces, he said he would support such projects in “very limited circumstances.”
However, some are protesting, including the Golddaledale energy storage project. In the state of Washington. It distributes water between two 60-acre (24.3 ha) reservoirs on opposite sides of the hill.
The facility can accommodate up to 500,000 homes for up to 12 hours, according to Rie Development, the project’s leader. FERC is seeking a license and is scheduled to go online in 2028.
State regulators have denied water quality licenses, demanding more information, and the company will launch a new application this spring. Environmental groups fear it could damage wetlands and wildlife, and tribes say the project will encroach on sanctuary.
“What are we willing to sacrifice to get this technology online?” Bridget Moran, co-director of American Rivers.
According to the developers, the project will include cleaning up the contaminated bottom reservoir.
The US Department of Energy has launched a web-based tool. To help developers find the best sites.
A recent study by the University of Michigan Institute of Technology Hundreds of discarded U.S. bombs capable of handling pump tanks have been identified above or near and below the groundwater reservoirs.
They are close enough for transmission and distribution infrastructure and solar and wind farms, the report said.
“All these holes in the ground are ready to go,” said Roman Siddorsov, an associate professor of energy policy.
But while some persistent landmines may be better for the environment, the New York County project in Essex County is at risk of water pollution.
As the energy storage market grows, new technologies are emerging.
Texas-based Quinn Net Energy He built a pumping station that pumped water underground, held it between rock layers, and released it into turbines. The company announced a project in March with San Antonio Municipality.
Energy Volt, A Swiss beginner built a regenerative crane to lift and stack 35 tons of bricks. When energy is needed, the bricks are lowered by generator rotating cables.
Batteries are currently the leading competitors of pump storage plants, which can generate power in eight to 16 hours. Lithium-ion batteries typically last up to four hours but last longer in operation.
“Are we going to make the eight-hour battery cheaper than the pump storage plant? Billions of dollars,” said Paul Denholm, a national renewable energy laboratory analyst.
Pump storage remains a key player, but the difficult process of building new plants has hampered its expansion, said Jason Berwen, vice president of the American Pure Power, Wind and Solar Trade Association.
“As fast as the electricity industry is changing, it will be difficult to solve it in 10 to 15 years,” he said.
Yet a 2016 Department of Energy report The US network has a new pump storage capacity of 36 GB.
Atlanta-based Southerner is one of the companies that is developing tools to increase production on existing plants while looking at new websites, said Herbby Johnson, General Manager.
“We do not believe that pump storage will benefit everyone, but it is an important part of our future storage,” said Cameron Schilling, vice president of Water Power Markets. “You can’t make the system carbohydrate without it.”
Follow John Flesher on Twitter: @JohnFlesher