The hydropower major Rye Development has come up with a strategy to make Kentucky’s old coal mine a hub of the long duration energy storage trend. The new long duration storage project is going to be a closed loop system that would run to Bell County, which is situated near the southeast corner of Kentucky.
The project location stands atop a former coal strip mine in an active coal mining region. As coal is phased out of the grid throughout the country, mining towns face unclear job and economic prospects. Projects like Lewis Ridge offer new employment and economic activity in energy areas.
The business also hints that wind and solar will play a key role in this specific project:
“Pumped storage hydropower provides a flexible answer to the evolving grid, including the potential to store intermittent solar and wind resources going ahead. When finished, the Lewis Ridge project will have the power to produce over 200 MW for 8 hours.”
The main concept behind a pumped hydro “water battery” is to utilise renewable energy to move water uphill to a reservoir during times of low electrical demand. During moments of high demand, the water is discharged downhill to drive turbines for producing energy, thus gravity performs all the hard work.
Pumped hydro systems come in two main forms. Open systems transfer the stored water into the local river, where it continues about its path after passing past the turbines. Closed systems re-use the same water over and over again.
If everything goes according to plan, the ultimate result will be approximately $1 billion in investor cash streaming into the county, along with 3 to 5 years worth of “family wage” construction employment for around 2,000 employees.
Reference- Mining.com, Clean Technica, Rye Development website & PR