A Global forum will be launched this week to develop policy proposals and exchange knowledge on the technical and market reforms necessary to overcome barriers to sustainable pumped storage hydropower projects, known as the ‘world’s water batteries’.

The International Forum on Pumped Storage Hydropower, to be launched 3 November,  is convened by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and chaired by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It will bring together the governments of the USA, Austria, Brazil, Estonia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Morocco, Norway and Switzerland, as well as international financial institutions, non-profit organisations and leading energy companies such as EDF, GE Renewable Energy, Voith and Hydro Tasmania.

Former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcom Turnbull, a leading advocate for pumped storage hydropower at home and abroad, will give a keynote address at the inaugural virtual forum to more than 100 high-level representatives of the partner organisations.  “With this initiative we have an opportunity to help ensure that pumped storage hydropower will play an important role in our power systems today and into the future,” said Daniel R Simmons, Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “Several developers have plans to build new pumped storage hydropower plants in the United States, and we hope the work of this forum will help them get those plants built, to help make the grid of the future more reliable and robust.”

Eddie Rich, CEO of IHA, added: “The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has stated that pumped storage hydropower, which provides most of the world’s energy storage capacity, needs to nearly double by 2050 to meet ambitious global climate targets. The good news is that there is massive potential, including over 600,000 potential off-river sites that have recently been identified, plus opportunities for modernising existing plants.

“Over the next year, the forum’s partners are expected to exchange good practices and agree proposals to clear the way for an upsurge in pumped storage developments while also looking at ways to improve the sustainability and efficiency of existing facilities.”