New tool maps world’s water batteries: the clean storage solution for renewables

Interactive tool for tracking pumped storage hydropower projects launched by IHA at COP23 climate conference

9 November 2017 - More than 100 pumped storage hydropower projects totalling some 75 GW of new capacity are in the pipeline around the world, according to a new online resource launched today in Bonn, Germany.  


The new Hydropower Pumped Storage Tracking Tool – developed by the International Hydropower Association – maps the locations and vital statistics of existing and planned projects.

According to the tracking tool, the 100 planned projects will increase existing global storage capacity by 50 per cent, from 150 GW to almost 225 GW. The first of these projects will come on line in 2018, and the majority will be operational by 2030.

Known as the world’s ‘water batteries’, pumped storage hydropower is the cleanest and most cost-effective form of energy storage existing today. It makes up more than 95 per cent of global energy storage, next to less than five per cent combined for thermal, electromechanical and electrochemical storage, including lithium batteries.

The Hydropower Pumped Storage Tracking Tool is designed for policy-makers, investors and researchers. It shows the status of a pumped storage project, its installed generating and pumping capacity, and its actual or planned date of commissioning.

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association, announced the tool at the COP23 climate conference in Bonn, Germany.

“Pumped storage is the cleanest battery on earth, simply cycling water between two water bodies at different elevations. It takes surplus electricity in the system and stores it for use when it is needed. Switching between modes of pumping and generating in seconds, it ensures that renewables generation is not curtailed in the electricity system, and supply and demand are harmonised.” Mr Taylor said.

“This tracking tool is the most comprehensive online resource of its kind. It shines a light on the enormous contribution of pumped storage to meeting the battery demands of clean energy systems, with very high efficiency.”

The latest pumped storage technology offers essential ancillary services such as electric frequency control and voltage regulation, in order to ensure stable and reliable operation of power grids. Along with conventional hydro, it is also a leading solution for restarting a grid after a black-out.

Notes to Editors:

In 2016, worldwide hydropower development grew steadily, with an estimated 31.5 GW of new capacity added. This includes 6.4 GW of pumped storage, nearly twice the amount installed in 2015, and brings the world’s total installed hydro capacity to 1,246 GW. IHA estimates current total installed pumped storage capacity at 150 GW. Read more in the 2017 Hydropower Status Report.

Find the Hydropower Pumped Storage Tracking Tool here:

For further information about the tool, please contact Mathis Rogner, Senior Hydropower Analyst at IHA:
Tel: +44 7827 334541; Email:

For media enquiries, please contact Will Henley, Head of Communications at IHA:
Tel: +44 7507 661755; Email:

International Hydropower Association

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit membership organisation formed in 1995. Our mission is to advance sustainable hydropower by building and sharing knowledge on its role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions.

IHA was a pioneer of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol and is actively involved with academic, financial, governmental and non-governmental partners in promoting international industry good practice. Find out more:

Join the discussion on Twitter: @iha_org, #hydropower

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