The global pumped hydro storage (PHS) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 2% over the period of 2020-2025. The PHS installation is increasing on account of the pressing need to augment the energy storage capacity across the world. As the intermittent renewable energy infrastructure is witnessing robust growth, the development of energy storage for electricity on a large scale is gaining importance. The PHS technology has very high capability to store energy, and it can provide flexible power to the grid. Hence, as is used for load-shifting and balancing inflexible sources of power generation, the pumped hydro storage market is expected to witness a significant demand in the coming years. However, PHS projects face a long gestation and payback period with high upfront capital costs, leading to restraining the growth of market.
Closed-loop pumped hydro storage power units are expected to the lead the market during the forecast period, owing to its advantages over open-loop units and many under construction projects which are expected to be completed over the forecast period.
The planned and upcoming hydropower plant projects in the emerging economies such as Africa and Southeast Asia are expected to create significant opportunities for the market studied.
Asia-Pacific is the largest market for pumped hydro storage, owing to the highest annual increase in capacity in 2018, continuing the growth trajectory, majorly driven by China.
Key Market Trends
Closed-Loop to Dominate the Market
The pumped hydro storage units, where both reservoirs are artificial and none of the reservoirs are associated with natural inflows, are referred to as a closed-loop system. The development of a closed-loop system requires identification of water source and additional water to replace the losses that occurred.
In this type of pumped hydro storage system, there is minimal interaction with aquatic life. Thus, it minimizes or even avoids the permitting and environmental review process.
China, with more than 40 under construction and planned closed-loop projects is expected to promulgate the market. India and Indonesia also have several closed-loop powered hydro storage projects, leading to Asia-Pacific region driving the closed-loop unit demand.
In October 2018, a bill named “America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018” was passed in the United States, which includes provisions that significantly streamline the key aspects of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), licensing the process for closed-loop, pumped hydro storage facilities.
With changes made in the regulations, the new, closed-loop pumped storage facilities may complete the licensing process by mid-2021, hence, driving the pumped hydro storage market.
Asia-Pacific to Dominate the Market
As of 2018, Asia-Pacific accounts for more than 50% of the global installed capacity for pumped hydro storage and around 45% of global generated power from PHS, with China constituting of about 30 GW of installed capacity.
According to the China Energy Storage Alliance’s (CNESA), by the end of 2017, China’s total operational energy storage capacity totaled 28.9 GW, an increase of 19% from the previous year. Pumped hydro energy storage made up the majority of this capacity, at nearly 99%. With more projects coming into operation in next five years, China is expected to retain its leading position in the market.
In India, the PHS technology is expected to play a significant role in the proliferation of renewable energy generation in India. In March 2019, the Ministry of Power proposed changes in the electricity rule, to incentivize electricity supply at the times of peak demand, which is a big boost for growth in pumped PHS installation.
India has 4.8 GW of pumped hydro storage capacity, with Indian government setting a target of 175 GW renewable power installed capacity during the forecast period. Thus, the new initiatives and projects are expected to drive the pumped hydro storage market.
The pumped hydro storage market is moderately fragmented. Some of the key players in the market include are General Electric Co., Siemens AG, Enel SpA,Duke Energy Corporation, and Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA.
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