The renaissance of pumped storage hydropower: an unsung hero for a clean, resilient energy grid

A webinar co-hosted by IHA, NHA and LDESC
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Join IHA, NHA and the Long Duration Energy Storage Council for a webinar on August 6 from 12:00-13:00 EST/17:00-18:00 BST to discuss  providing enough storage to stabilise global energy grids.

Climate change is one of the most challenging issues facing the world today, impacting the stability of energy grids around the globe and increasing demand whilst extreme weather events are accelerating. Central to this challenge is the need for a rapid transition of the electricity sector from fossil fuels to low carbon sources of power. Strengthening grid resilience and reliability alongside energy security are also key objectives of the clean energy transition.

An aerial view of a pumped storage hydropower project
An aerial view of a pumped storage hydropower project

There is no doubt that we can and will deploy wind and solar power at a huge scale. But what happens when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow? These technologies need a low carbon back-up or we will fall back on fossil fuels or simply have to get used to blackouts. We need flexible electricity systems to mitigate against these risks, and stable, reliable storage solutions that can support the grid and avoid curtailing renewable energy when they produce more than the system requires.

One critical source of system flexibility is energy storage that can “charge” when there is too much wind, and “generate” when the sun goes down. Consensus is growing that we need long duration energy storage, and a lot of it, and we need to use all the tools at our disposal to deploy, including PSH as a provable, bankable and dependable storage asset

The primary source of stored energy on electricity grids today - at well over 90% of energy stored - is pumped storage hydropower (PSH) but despite being proven and cost-effective, the deployment of PSH is not keeping pace with the increased demand for both long duration storage and the other services that are needed to provide system flexibility. Additionally, while there is significant potential for scaling up global pumped hydro capacity, the flexibility and storage services provided by pumped storage hydropower are not yet adequately valued in many countries reducing investment and holding back new projects.

To secure our net zero ambitions and avoid grid incidents, governments around the world need to address the obstacles to the development of pumped storage hydropower. Planning and permitting need to be accelerated and attracting private investment and financing for deployment of PSH requires market arrangements that provide long term revenue visibility.

Join us as we discuss addressing deployment barriers, ensuring improved grid stability for a clean energy future and developing resilience to ensure strengthened energy security globally.

About the organisations

LDES Council

Long Duration Energy Storage Council, an executive-led global non-profit with more than 60 members operating in over 20 countries. The LDES Council works to accelerate the decarbonization of our world through the deployment and scaling of LDES technologies. The LDES Council provides member-driven, fact-based guidance and research to governments, grid operators and major electricity users on the deployment of long duration energy storage for society's benefit by decreasing emissions, lowering costs and adding flexibility to energy systems allowing for more resiliency.  


The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is the global voice for sustainable hydropower. It is a non-profit membership association. Operating in over 120 countries, IHA members include leading hydropower owners and operators, developers, designers, suppliers and consultants. Around a third (450 GW) of global installed hydropower capacity is directly managed and operated by our membership. IHA works with governments, multilateral institutions, civil society, finance and academia to deliver on this mission through advocacy, research and policy initiatives and championing sustainable good practices.     

Launched in November 2020 by IHA and chaired by the US Department of Energy, the International Forum on Pumped Storage brought together 13 governments, international financial institutions, and over 70 organisations, including leading energy companies such to produce guidance and recommendations on how Pumped Storage can support energy transition. Malcolm Turnbull, the former Prime Minister of Australia, represented IHA on the Forum, and is now IHA’s President.


The National Hydropower Association (NHA) is a nonprofit national association dedicated exclusively to preserving and expanding clean, renewable, affordable hydropower and marine energy. Its mission is to champion waterpower as the premier carbon-free renewable energy resource in the United States.

NHA represents more than 300 companies in the North American hydropower industry, from Fortune 500 corporations to family-owned small businesses. Members include both public and investor-owned utilities, independent power producers, developers, equipment providers & manufacturers, service providers, environmental and engineering consultants, attorneys, and public policy, outreach, and education professionals. NHA members are involved in projects throughout the North American hydropower industry, including both federal and non-federal hydroelectric facilities. NHA members own and operate approximately 85% of the waterpower generating capacity in the United States.

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