Pumped Storage Hydropower

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In addition to traditional hydropower, pumped-storage hydropower (PSH)—A type of hydropower that works like a battery, pumping water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir for storage and later generation—is an important piece of DOE's renewable energy portfolio because it acts as a utility-scale grid storage technology. DOE's Water Power Program plays a supportive role in demonstrating the benefits of PSH and its role in our nation's clean energy portfolio. As a renewable form of energy storage, PSH facilitates grid stabilization allowing a high penetration of variable renewables such as wind and solar into existing electrical grids.

Learn more about the Water Power Program's work in the following areas of pumped storage and grid integration:

HYDROPOWER Asset Management

A photo of a series of pipes built on a hill that pump water from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir.
Existing hydropower facilities in the United States are showing signs of deterioration, leading to declines in electrical generation. The data needed to evaluate these facilities, which includes both federal and non-federal assets, are disjointed and outdated. The Water Power Program is working with fellow government agencies and industry partners in an effort to integrate and update this information to better understand the potential causes and solutions to the annual variation in hydropower electrical generation.

HYDROPOWER Grid Services

Hydropower has the potential to increase the flexibility and stability of the U.S. electric grid and to support the integration of variable renewable resources. The Water Power Program seeks to maximize this potential v

alue by developing and deploying technologies that increase operational flexibility by modifying regional computer models to better assess the potential capacity expansions of pumped storage and facilitate the introduction of additional renewable resources into the grid.

A photo of a hydroelectric plant.


The Water Power Program has numerous accomplishments and projects in the areas of pumped storage and grid benefits. The project below highlights just one of the program's recent successes.

A team of DOE funded industry partners and national laboratories are developing a detailed model of the only feasible utility-scale storage technology, advanced pumped-storage hydropower, to analyze its technical capabilities to provide grid services, and to assess the value of these services under different market structures. This work provides the most up-to-date characterization of pumped-storage, assessing its value and potential contribution to existing electricity generation. The research team aims to develop a publicly available model and disseminate the information to stimulate the hydropower industry and further strengthen investment and development of pumped-storage. The corresponding reports contains three parts: