Pumped Hydro Energy Storage

What exactly is a Pumped Storage Project (PSP) or a Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) Project?

Very simply put a pumped storage project consists of two water storage reservoirs with water surfaces at different altitudes connected by a waterway and a powerhouse. The powerhouse contains one or more pumps and one or more turbines or more probably a pump-turbine that can be used to pass the water from one reservoir to the other thus producing energy in the turbine mode and pumping the water back up to the upper reservoir at times of low energy demand and price to store it for use and energy production at peak times.

Did you know that Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) is the lower reservoir of an underground hidden 480 MW Pumped storage project in the mountain behind the Chateau of Chillon with a very unique upper reservoir created by the beautiful Hongrin dam (in the image above)?

Why do we need energy storage?

With climate change, an ever-increasing source of worry, energy storage especially grid scale energy storage is rapidly becoming a very important aspect for the operation of grid networks which are attempting to maximize the integration of renewable energy resources.

There are many different types of energy storage technologies, that are in operation or being researched, everything from batteries to Fly wheels to Compressed Air Energy Storage. The most tried and tested and most mature technology is also the oldest renewable energy storage, hydropower, or more precisely Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES).

Why choose Gruner for your pumped storage project?

For many decades now, Gruner Stucky Ltd.’s unique experience in designing and supervising the construction, repowering or rehabilitation of dams and hydropower plants, combined with the talents and specialities of our staff, has given us the capability to successfully design and supervise the construction of pumped storage projects all over the world.

Over the years right up to the present day we have acquired and actively maintain our state-of-the-art specialist knowledge of the mechanical, electrical, civil and hydraulic design of pumped storage projects and of the technologies required for pumped storage projects such as pump-turbines, including, of course, variable-speed-drives.

We can thus offer our clients a comprehensive “one-stop-shop” range of engineering, consulting and project management services. These cover all project stages of a pumped storage project from due diligence, conception and preliminary studies to works supervision, commissioning and rehabilitation. We cover projects of all sizes our experience covers pumped storage projects of several hundred MW to several thousand MW. We also have comprehensive experience of all the Engineering roles and thus can act as Owner’s Engineer, EPC Contractors Engineer or indeed as Lender’s Engineer.

We have extensive engineering design expertise in the fields of dams, hydrology, geotechnics, hydraulics, hydraulic steel structures, power plant electromechanical design, energy transmission, river and water basin management, water supply, water transfer schemes and flood control. Our expertise in dam and hydropower engineering is highly regarded and sought after both inside and outside Switzerland. Our highly qualified team of engineers and specialists provides you, the Client, with all necessary support and advice to develop, construct and operate your energy storage projects.

The added extra – BIM implementation of PSP design and supervision projects

Gruner Stucky Ltd has also developed a highly capable BIM and Scan2BIM team who are able to survey, model and manage the data of complex projects with state-of-the-art technology thus enabling our design teams to perform high quality project coordination and design, while reducing the uncertainty during project construction phase ultimately saving both time and effort.

Selected reference projects

Capacity Increase of the Forces Motrices Hongrin-Léman scheme (480 MW), Switzerland
Services performed: Pre-Feasibility, Preliminary, Tender and Final Design, Procurement, Construction Management and Work Supervision for the Modernisation and extension of an existing pumped hydro energy storage project

Siah Bisheh Pumped Storage Project (1096 MW), Iran
Services performed: Project Review and Specialized Studies followed by the Site Supervision of the works

Linthal 2015 scheme – Muttsee Dam 1000 MW), Switzerland
Services performed: Tender and Final Design, including Procurement and Construction Drawings of the upper reservoir of the Linth Limmern scheme at an altitude of approximately 2500 m above sea level

Lago Bianco Pumped Storage Plant (1000 MW), Switzerland
Services performed: Tender and Final Design

Alimit Pumped Storage Variation (250 MW), Philippines
Services performed: Feasibility Studies of the Pumped storage scheme which is included in the overall hydropower complex.

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