A Focus on Pumped Storage at 2022 Waterpower Week in Washington

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A Focus on Pumped Storage at 2022 Waterpower Week in Washington


April 4, 2022


Jeremy Chase-Israel, Content Development Specialist, NHA and Cameron Schilling, Vice President, Market Strategies and Regulatory Affairs, NHA


A Focus on Pumped Storage at 2022 Waterpower Week in Washington

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During this week’s Waterpower Week in Washington policy conference, the words “Pumped Storage Hydro” will be heard frequently … and not just from the industry talking to itself.

Speakers at the conference expected to share their views about the importance of pumped storage hydro to a carbon-free electric power future include:

  • Malcolm Turnbull, 29th Prime Minister, Australia (2015-2018)
  • Demetrios Papathanasiou, Global Director, Energy & Extractives, The World Bank
  • Richard Glick, Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Jennifer Garson, Director, Water Power Technologies Office, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Anna McKenna, Interim Vice President, Market Policy & Performance, California Independent System Operator Corporation – CAISO
  • Derek Bandera, Executive Director, Federal Regulatory Affairs, Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO)
  • Kris Raper, Vice President of External Affairs, Western Electricity Coordinating Council
  • Alex Fitzsimmons, Senior Program Director, ClearPath


Today, the existing fleet of pumped-storage facilities in the U.S. provide nearly all of the utility-scale storage, becoming increasing more critical as variable renewable resources like wind and solar are added to the generation mix.

In addition, the pursuit of development of new pumped storage projects is stronger than it has been for decades. There are more than 90 projects in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) application pipeline (3 of which are licensed but not yet under construction). Those 92 projects represent 79.8 GW. While not all 90 projects are likely to reach commercialization, a growing diversity of capital in pumped storage development forecasts favorably for the industry.

The most recent action of FERC to issue a preliminary permit to investor-owned utility Alabama Power to study the 1,600 MW Chandler Mountain Pumped Storage Project illustrates the interest by both investor-owner utilities and independent developers in pumped storage.

With an estimated average annual generation of 3.504 million megawatt-hours, the Chandler Mountain project would involve the construction of an underground powerhouse containing reversible pump turbines with a capacity between 800 MW and 1,600 MW.

Below are a few of the pumped storage-focused speakers and sessions at Waterpower Week:

  • Carl Borgquist, Absaroka Energy, who will be a panelist for “Growth in Waterpower – What’s Happening to Meet Clean Energy Net-Zero Goals?” Absaroka Energy is developing a proposed 400-MW closed loop pumped storage hydro project in Montana.
  • Demetrios Papathanasiou, Global Director Energy and Extractives, The World Bank. Dr. Papathanasiou will be the featured speaker in a plenary session titled “Opportunities and Challenges for Waterpower Globally. What Can We Learn from Successes around the World?”
  • Malcom Turnbull, 29th Prime Minister of Australia and Co-Chair of the International Forum on Pumped Storage Hydropower. Mr. Turnbull will be presenting a special keynote address titled “The Ignored Crisis within the Crisis: Why Pumped Storage Hydro is Critical to Meeting Net-Zero Carbon Goals”
  • Project Financing from the U.S. Department of Energy – Working with the Loan Program Office,” this workshop is ideal for those looking to obtain funding for a proposed project, including a pumped storage project. The Department of Energy’s Loan Program Office staff will walk interested parties through the process of navigating loan applications.
  • Words That Work – Communicating the Value and Role of Pumped Storage,” this session will tackle several important questions related to pumped storage, including how the industry can cut through the noise and ensure that pumped storage is a vital part of our storage future.