As multifunctional power stations, pumped-storage facilities are a crucial mainstay of the energy transition. At present, they are the only industrial-scale, field-tested and highly flexible electricity storage technology around. Furthermore, they reliably provide a wide range of ancillary services that support stable grid operations.
However, the current regulatory framework threatens the profitability of pumped-storage plants and hence their existence. Hence, instead of utilising the enormous potential of this technology and expanding it through projects for the construction of new facilities, its continued existence in Germany currently cannot be guaranteed. In this situation, the best course of action was to consolidate competencies and become actively involved.
We founded the dena Platform for Pumped-Storage Plants – Partners in the Energy Transition. dena got power plant operators, system manufacturers, energy suppliers and grid operators on board as partners. The duties of all participants are diverse: Joint positions on the current and future roles of pumped-storage plants need to be worked out, typical problem areas identified, and know-how from various industries consolidated. In the end, this yields valid approaches and recommended courses of action for the meaningful integration of pumped-storage plants into the constantly changing German energy system.
If the Platform for Pumped-Storage Plants manages to elicit understanding viewpoints which increase the profitability of existing power plants as well as set pending construction projects in motion, the energy transition will have been greatly facilitated. This is because thanks to their equalising effect, pumped-storage plants are indispensable guarantees for grid stability in the integration of renewable energy sources. And grid stability, in turn, is a prerequisite for the security of supply in German households and companies. Hence, pumped-storage plants may ultimately provide the decisive amount of flexibility required to be able to react to changing or unexpected situations in the energy system in an appropriate fashion.