Small hydropower storage and pump-storage schemes for decentralised energy supply

This paper aims to explore the technical and institutional feasibility of small hydropower storage and pump-storage schemes in Switzerland. Within the European and Swiss context of the facilitation of renewable energy technologies, whereby solar and wind power are intermittent options, additional energy storage capacities are required to adjust the electricity production with the demand. Hydropower pump-storage schemes remain the most efficient and profitable option to “store” electricity. In Switzerland today, most of the big scale hydropower potential is exploited however The potential of small hydropower (<10 MW) for storage and pump-storage applications, especially with a decentralised energy supply and grid balancing perspective (“smart grid”), has not yet been evaluated. Small hydropower storage and pump-storage schemes can be built using streams and lakes, or built within existing infrastructures, such as irrigation and snow-making facilities or inoperative galleries (e.g. those used for the construction of dams or for the military). These facilities offer unexplored opportunities using existing reservoirs. This research focuses on small hydropower with storage and, where feasible, pump capacity as well. The unit of analysis is Switzerland, but the methodology could be applied to other countries. The research aims firstly to evaluate the small storage and pump-storage hydropower potential in a qualitative and explorative manner. Secondly, it aims to formulate institutional recommendations in order to facilitate such a development (e.g. remuneration instruments). The recommendations will also concern the institutional frameworks for SHP in general (e.g. reducing transactions costs, quality guarantee). The theoretical background used for the research is the framework of coherence between institutions and technologies, as well as the literature of co-evolution between institutions and technologies in the case of network industries.

Published in:
Proceedings of the Renewable Energy World - Europe Conference
Presented at:
RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD – EUROPE, Milan, Italy, June 7-9, 2011

 Record created 2011-06-11, last modified 2018-01-28

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