Each summer, millions of people across the country stay indoors to stay cool and healthy. In a summer like Record heat wave of 2021, there is nothing more satisfying than the feeling of a spotless, air-conditioned room.
But the heat is not only annoying; it can be dangerous. In the USA, over 600 people die from extreme heat every year, and that number could increase due to the effects of climate change. If everyone cranks up the air conditioning or turns on the fans, the grid – which carries our electricity from one place to another – can bypass, putting millions of people at risk – from hospitals, grocery stores to nursing homes. nurses and even our schools.
One of the best ways for our network to avoid short circuits? Water coils.
(Pumped storage hydropower is the most dominant form of energy storage on the grid today. It also plays an important role in bringing renewable resources to the grid.)
Also known as hydropower by pumping, water batteries are made up of two large pools of water, one above the other, which act like an hourglass to provide energy. These are some of the biggest batteries on Earth, and that’s just one of the many reasons we love pumped storage hydropower – and you should too!
In honor of National Hydropower Day on August 24, here are 10 reasons to appreciate the importance and power of water batteries and why we must continue to invest in these important resources across the country.
- Network overload? Thanks to water batteries, this is rare. When other energy sources like solar and wind power produce more electricity than neighboring houses need, that extra power pushes the water into the upper pool of the water coil where it waits, “Charging” the water battery. Then, when needed, such as during a devastating grid heat wave, water is released from this upper pool and flows out, spinning a turbine that creates electricity to power your lights, your refrigerator. or other essentials.
- Mother Nature is not a problem for water batteries. Renewable energy is crucial for a clean energy future, but sometimes mother nature makes it difficult. Water batteries can fill the energy gap on cloudy and calm days, ensuring that clean energy is always reliable energy.
- Pumping hydroelectricity provides 93% of U.S. energy storage. Pumped storage hydropower projects are among the largest long-term energy storage systems today. You may not have seen this invisible force yet, but it helps power the world around you.
- The United States of water batteries – in 2021, 18 states and all major regions of the country are using pumped hydropower to store energy. California, Virginia, and South Carolina are making the most of these clean power pools, and three new states have projects underway (bringing the total to 21).
- In the United States, pumped hydropower can store up to 553 gigawatt hours energy. This could fuel video games all over the country for about a week. Each year, American video game players consume about as much energy as 85 million refrigerators or 5 million cars.
- Pumped storage is the most efficient large energy storage system currently available – at 70-80%! Because it takes energy to store energy, no storage system, not even conventional batteries, is 100% efficient. Pumping water into the upper tank of a water coil requires a burst of energy. However, a good 80% of what goes up, goes down.
- Hydroelectric and pumped storage facilities provide 40% the power needed to restart a network after a power failure. Ice storms, forest fires, and even hackers could prevent the power grid from supplying our homes and offices. When emergencies cut off other energy sources, water batteries can turn on quickly to keep people safe and comfortable.
- Natural disasters are no match the benefits of hydropower and pumped storage for flood control and irrigation! Water batteries can save you some too – they help absorb that extra water and use it to power your home (or help put out forest fires that can damage the network). Puddles can also provide clean water for crops, and so can you, ensuring you’re not thirsty during a heatwave.
- Pumped hydroelectricity in the United States has developed without any new construction. How it works? By “capacity increases” or upgrades to facilities that make them more powerful. From 2010 to 2019, upgrades to just six pumped storage facilities led to an increase in capacity of 1,400 MW for pumped storage in the United States.. This means that within the pumped storage capacity of the United States – without any new construction – pumped storage has grown almost as much as all other types of energy storage combined.
- Water batteries are almost a century old. 90 years in fact. The first American water battery – dubbed the 10-mile storage battery – first appeared in Connecticut in 1930. Nearly a century later, water batteries still provide power at low cost. Let’s go for the next 90!
Article courtesy of the office of Energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Featured Image Courtesy of Energy.gov
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