After setting out to build six pumped-storage stations in Hebei, Henan and other provinces, China now has the largest pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH) installation worldwide.
Data showed 28.49 GW of PSH installed capacity is now in operation across the country, and another 38.71 GW is under construction. By 2020, the operating capacity is expected to reach 40 GW.
PSH, or pumped hydroelectric energy storage (PHES), is the most economical and cleanest large-scale energy storage method. It's used by electric power systems for load balancing. In the off-peak time, water is pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation by low-cost surplus power. During periods of peak electrical demand, the stored water is released through turbines to produce power.
The six PSH construction projects, invested at 52.4 billion yuan and set to come online on 2026, are designed with capacity totaling 8.4 GW.
Specifically, one in Yixian county of Hebei has designed capacity of 1.2 GW, one in Zhirui, Inner Mongolia has 1.2 GW, two in Ninghai and Jinyuan of Zhejiang, 1.4 and 1.8 GW. The rest two are distributed in Luoning of Henan and Pingjiang of Hunan, each with designed capacity of 1.4 GW.
State Grid Corporation of China, the biggest power plant builder and power grid runner in the country, has started 21 PSH construction projects over the recent five years, with the capacity totaling 30.15 GW, said the company's head Shu Yinbiao.
During the five years, the company has put five PSH stations into operation (6.1 GW in total), playing a significant role in renewable power curtailment alleviation and power supply stability.
"When the six stations come online, they can help reduce curtailment of wind and solar power by 13.3 TWh every year," said Kou Wei, general manager of State Grid. "They also help cut coal burning by 820,000 tonnes and carbon dioxide emission by 1.66 million tonnes."
However, China's PSH installation is far from enough to meet the development of massive power system in the country, which only accounts for less than 2% of the country's total.
"China has accelerated PSH construction and installation these years," said Liu Baohua, vice director of the National Energy Administration.
China plans to build a batch of PSH projects with capacity totaling 60 GW in the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), he said, adding the total capacity is projected to reach about 90 GW by 2025.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Tammy Yang)
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