Scientists have identified 530,000 sites worldwide suitable for pumped-hydro energy storage, capable of storing more than enough energy to power the entire planet.
Pumped-hydro is one of the best technologies we have for storing intermittent renewable energy, such as solar power, which means these sites could act as giant batteries, helping to support cheap, fully renewable power grids.
But it was previously assumed there were only limited suitable sites around the world, and that we wouldn’t be able to store enough renewable energy for high-demand times – which this study shows isn’t the case at all.
Added together, these hundreds of thousands of sites have the potential to store around 22 million Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy. It’s more than enough to get the entire planet running on renewables, which is where we want to get to.
The team has uploaded details of its work and maps showing the site locations on a dedicated website. None of the potential sites are located inside national parks or urban areas, and each one has the potential capacity to hold 2-150 GWh of energy.