Value of pumped hydro storage in a hybrid energy generation and allocation system
Embargo Lift Date: 2019-11-01
1202 - 1215
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Transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources is inevitable. In this direction, variation and intermittency of renewables can be integrated into the grid by means of hybrid systems that operate as a combination of alternative resources, energy storage and long distance transmission lines. In this study, we propose a two-stage stochastic mixed-integer programming model for sizing an integrated hybrid energy system, in which intermittent solar generation in demand points is supported by pumped hydro storage (PHES) systems and diesel is used as an expensive back-up source. PHES systems work as a combination of pumped storage and conventional hydropower stations since there is also natural streamflow coming to the upper reservoirs that shows significant seasonal and inter-annual variability and uncertainty. With several case studies from India, we examine the role of high hydropower potential in the Himalaya Mountains to support solar energy generation in the form of pumped hydro or conventional hydro system while meeting the demand at various scales. We show that pumped hydro storage can keep the diesel contribution to meet the demand less than 10%, whereas this number can go up to more than 50% for conventional systems where the streamflow potential is limited compared to the demand. We also examine the role of pumped hydro systems in both isolated and connected systems (through inter-regional transmission lines) and show that the benefit of pumped hydro is more significant in isolated systems and resource-sharing in connected systems can substitute for energy storage. In addition, with the help of the proposed model, we show that the upper reservoir size of a pumped hydro system could be lower than the reservoir size of a conventional hydropower system depending on the demand scale and streamflow availability. This means that, most of the current conventional hydropower stations could be converted to pumped hydropower stations without needing to modify the upper reservoir, leading to a significantly reduced diesel contribution and lower system unit cost.