Qinghai’s Pumped Hydro Storage Power Station

Via South China Morning Post, a report that China has broken ground on major project that could boost renewable energy production in Gobi Desert:

  • It will be the first pumped storage hydropower station in Qinghai, home to the highest installed clean energy capacity in China
  • The facility is part of a series of projects in the northwestern province aimed at improving the reliability of the power grid
Work has started on an electricity project in northwestern China that could significantly boost renewable energy production in the Gobi Desert and Tibetan Plateau, according to the National Energy Administration (NEA).
Construction got under way on Sunday on the region’s biggest pumped storage power station in the province of Qinghai, a hydropower project that is expected to have a maximum installed capacity of 2.8 gigawatts (GW) once it is up and running.

The station will have two reservoirs and act like a giant battery, releasing water from a higher reservoir to generate electricity when demand is high and pumping water back up using other renewable sources when demand is low.

It will be located in Guinan county in the east of Qinghai and will use the Laxiwa reservoir on the Yellow River as its lower reservoir.

The Qinghai Warang power station will be operated by the State Grid Corporation, a state-owned electric company, and is part of a series of projects in the province aimed at improving the reliability of the power grid, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Qinghai has the highest installed renewable energy capacity of any Chinese province. Its power grid is composed of 28 per cent hydropower while combined solar and wind power account for 63 per cent. By 2030, it is estimated that the province will exceed 100GW of wind and solar power, three and a half times the existing installed capacity.

However, a major challenge with wind and solar power is that peak energy production often does not align with peak energy consumption, making storage necessary for more flexible use of the power produced.

There has been growing pressure in the province to provide storage so peak energy demands are met. Pumped storage hydropower is ideal for grids that rely on solar and wind power, as it can absorb and release energy based on demand, according to the International Hydropower Association

Liu Yongqi, director of the State Grid’s pumped storage and new energy division, said the station would fill a gap in Qinghai’s pumped storage capacity and play a big role in providing stable energy operation to the power grid.

The Warang station will have a storage capacity of 20 million kilowatt-hours and connect to the Qinghai power grid via a 750-kilovolt transmission line, according to the NEA.

Once the Warang plant is in operation, the storage it provides will be equivalent to a reduction of 4.55 million tonnes (5 million tons) of carbon dioxide emissions every year and will improve energy transmission from surrounding wind and solar plants, according to Xinhua.

The Warang plant is being built in conjunction with three other projects, and together they will improve electricity access for 650,000 people, Xinhua reported.

Xin Baoan, chairman and secretary of the State Grid Corporation, said the projects would “greatly enhance the power grid’s ability to allocate resources and ensure a safe and reliable supply of electricity”.

Xin said the projects would also reduce carbon use and pollution, support stable employment and promote high-quality development in the region.

The NEA has prioritised developing pumped storage projects to help China achieve its carbon neutrality goals. According to its 2021 plan, the country should aim to have installed pumped storage capacity of 62GW by 2025 and 120GW by 2030.

These targets include starting construction on 200 pumped hydro facilities with a combined capacity of 270GW by 2025, according to state-owned broadcaster CGTN.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 11th, 2023 at 5:56 am and is filed under Uncategorized.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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As the scarcity of water and energy continues to grow, the linkage between these two critical resources will become more defined and even more acute in the months ahead.  This blog is committed to analyzing and referencing articles, reports, and interviews that can help unlock the nascent, complex and expanding linkages between water and energy -- The Watergy Nexus -- and will endeavor to provide a central clearinghouse for insightful articles and comments for all to consider.

Educated at Yale University (Bachelor of Arts - History) and Harvard (Master in Public Policy - International Development), Monty Simus has held a lifelong interest in environmental and conservation issues, primarily as they relate to freshwater scarcity, renewable energy, and national park policy.  Working from a water-scarce base in Las Vegas with his wife and son, he is the founder of Water Politics, an organization dedicated to the identification and analysis of geopolitical water issues arising from the world’s growing and vast water deficits, and is also a co-founder of SmartMarkets, an eco-preneurial venture that applies web 2.0 technology and online social networking innovations to motivate energy & water conservation.  He previously worked for an independent power producer in Central Asia; co-authored an article appearing in the Summer 2010 issue of the Tulane Environmental Law Journal, titled: “The Water Ethic: The Inexorable Birth Of A Certain Alienable Right”; and authored an article appearing in the inaugural issue of Johns Hopkins University's Global Water Magazine in July 2010 titled: “H2Own: The Water Ethic and an Equitable Market for the Exchange of Individual Water Efficiency Credits.”