Small hydropower - the potential of storage and pump-storage schemes in Switzerland
The paper aims to evaluate the technical potential and the institutional feasibility of small storage and pump-storage hydropower (<10 MW) in Switzerland. The increasing deployment of intermittent renewable energy technologies (RET) leads to the need for more energy storage capacities. These capacities will be developed at the large scale level, as well as at the small scale and household level. Small scale development is also triggered by smart grid developments. Small storage and pump-storage hydropower is a small scale technology with a potential which can be developed on watercourses and within infrastructures. The governmental RET facilitation should not only focus on the quantity (i.e. kWh), but also include quality aspects such as the alignment between production and the actual electricity demand, available peak power and contribution to grid balancing. This should lead to the facilitation of renewable storage technologies such as small storage and pump-storage hydropower. This research takes into account the current changes within the electricity sector (e.g., liberalisation, increased intermittent renewable production, smart grid developments, feed-in incentives). It introduces the state of small hydropower (SHP) in Switzerland and develops the argument for storage and pump-storage applications. The technical potential is evaluated with a bottom-up methodology and based on possible projects. The institutional feasibility is evaluated with explorative and qualitative research, mainly expert interviews. It concerns financial remuneration instruments and reducing transactions costs by streamlining administrative procedures. The technical potential is important enough to develop some policy recommendations concerning further shaping of the institutional frameworks in order to enable financially viable storage and pump-storage SHP schemes.