Pumped Storage

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Pumped Storage Scheme Electricity Generation

Pumped storage

A pumped storage scheme consists of an upper and a lower dam, with a power station located just above the lower dam.

The upper dam is filled with water.

When the country uses very high amounts of electricity and the demand exceeds the normal supply from the coal and nuclear power stations, water is released from the upper dam to flow down large pipes and through the power station. 

Electricity is generated and fed into the South African electricity grid withing 4 minutes.

This is added to the supply coming from the coal and nuclear power stations in the country to handle these sudden increases in demand, which are known as ‘spikes’.

When the spike in demand is over and the requirement in the country is low, the water is pumped from the lower dam – which is now full of the water that came down from the upper dam – back into the upper dam to prepare for the next spike in demand.

In this fascinating video we go into Eskom’s Palmiet Pumped Storage Power Station just outside Cape Town in South Africa, for a look at the way that they create electricity to handle spikes in demand at a pumped storage scheme.