The contribution of low-head pumped hydro storage to grid stability in future power systems

More Info


The pan-European power grid is experiencing an increasing penetration of Variable Renewable Energy (VRE). The fluctuating and non-dispatchable nature of VRE hinders them in providing the Ancillary Service (AS) needed for the reliability and stability of the grid. Therefore, Energy Storage Systems (ESS) are needed along the VRE. Among the different ESS, a particularly viable and reliable option is Pumped Hydro Storage (PHS), given its cost-effective implementation and considerable lifespan, in comparison to other technologies. Traditional PHS plants with Francis turbines operate at a high head difference. However, not all regions have the necessary topology to make these plants cost-effective and efficient. Therefore, the ALPHEUS project will introduce low-head PHS for regions with a relatively flat topography. In this paper, a grid-forming controlled converter coupled with low-head PHS that can contribute to the grid stability is introduced, emphasising its ability to provide different AS, especially frequency control, through the provision of fast Frequency Containment Reserve (fFCR) as well as synthetic system inertia. This paper is an extended version of the paper “The Contribution of Low-head Pumped Hydro Storage to a successful Energy Transition”, which was presented at the 19th Wind Integration Workshop 2020.