Sustainable Energy Solutions Sweden Holding AB (SENS) and Thyssenkrupp Uhde Africa are to work together to potentially develop an underground pumped storage project in South Africa.

The firms will collaborate on a feasibility study at a specific mine site which could be developed into a full-scale pumped storage project.

“The collaboration with thyssenkrupp opens up opportunities for us to undertake large-scale international energy storage projects, in line with SENS 'new strategy,” commented SENS Acting CEO Lise Toll. “Together, we will now explore the potential of deep gold mines and use these for a more sustainable tomorrow together with one of the world's leading industrial companies. It is a breakthrough for the green energy transition in South Africa if this is realized because it has great opportunities in a number of projects that look similar.”

South Africa has a large number of closed mines which may be suitable for pumped storage development. The conditions in the gold mines mean significantly reduced costs as the necessary components for implementing pumped storage power plants are already available.

The increased demand for renewable energy sources and combating the climate crisis are expected to drive market growth through energy storage, with Renewable Underground Pumped Hydroelectric Energy Storage (RUPHE") in abandoned mines offering potential to make up a large part of that energy storage. 

Thyssenkrupp Udhe Africa collaborates with a number of international companies in the reuse of abandoned mines. Since 2020, it has an agreement with Wismut GmbH, which works with decontamination and restoration of closed mines in South Africa. SENS is developing energy systems for resource-efficient energy use and together the parties will now carry out a feasibility study, with the aim of developing a full-scale project.