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What is a pumped storage plant?

A pumped storage plant is a reservoir system that uses electricity to pump water that is used to regenerate electricity at a later time.

Pumped storage plants do not produce any net electricity. They consume electricity from the power grid, pumping water uphill for storage, and then returning a portion of the consumed electricity to the grid at a later time by allowing that water to run back downhill through generators.

As shown below, electricity from the power grid spins a turbine in the powerhouse, pumping water from a lake, river, ocean or lower reservoir, for storage in an upper reservoir. Later, the water is released from the upper reservoir back down into the lower reservoir, spinning the turbines in the opposite direction, driving the generators to produce electricity.

More information can be found by clicking on this Pumped Storage InfoSheet.


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