Pumped storage power plants – green batteries
A pumped storage power plant can be put into either storage or generation mode in a matter of seconds.
How do pumped storage power plants work?
A pumped storage power plant uses the difference in height between a reservoir and the powerhouse with the turbines. The water is channelled into tunnels in which it "falls" down up to 500 meters. At the end of the tunnel the water hits the turbines, which it sets into motion. The turbines drive generators, and they in turn generate electricity. The special thing about pumped storage power plants: the reverse process is also possible. So water can be pumped from a river or lake to a reservoir in a higher position.
What advantages does electricity generation in pumped storage power plants offer?
What works well with small rechargeable batteries or simple batteries is not possible in large quantities industrially: to this day electricity cannot be stored particularly efficiently. There it is essential at any time that as much electricity as is currently consumed must be produced, but also as much as is produced must be consumed. And not only in Austria, but in the whole of Europe.
Nature has a different rhythm
The more alternative energy sources are used in Europe – e.g. solar systems in the sunny south, wind turbines in the stormy north - the less predictable the generation of electricity becomes. Because the time when the sun shines or the wind blows does not always coincide with human habits of electricity consumption. Pumped storage power plants are the only option in the long term for storing electricity efficiently.
Safety of the barrages
The safety of the barrages is an important issue. VERBUND barrages are amongst the best monitored structures in Austria. The key to safety lies in robust construction, the comprehensive surveillance of each plant by automatic sensors and having company staff on site.