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NREL Supports New Strategies to Accelerate PSH Development

April 2, 2019

NREL is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) to offer a new prize that will help to accelerate commissioning times and reduce cost and risk in pumped-storage hydropower (PSH) projects. The Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) Commissioning for PSH Prize seeks fresh solutions and technologies from new innovators who are working to address the non-regulatory challenges PSH developers face when deploying new projects. The team aims to reduce PSH commissioning time from the current 10 years to less than five.

The NREL project manager leading this initiative, Tessa Greco, has been an advocate for the advancement of PSH. "PSH is a key storage technology that supports increased integration of a range of variable generation resources. Risks in high up-front costs and long lead times shouldn't be a deterrent for new developments, so we're working to change that," said Greco.

NREL aims to support new solutions, designs, and strategies to accelerate PSH development. The prize will help to advance PSH concepts, improve construction and manufacturing processes, and standardize equipment.

Woman holds a clipboard while standing next to a machine in a hard hat.

The American Made Challenges network brings together innovators, entrepreneurs, and academics to support the work of anyone with a good idea. Image by NREL

As part of a $2 million effort, NREL is working with Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to provide in-kind laboratory support to finalists who will have the opportunity to leverage the technical expertise, facilities, and marketing reach of the national laboratory network to ensure the success of their concept.

FAST laboratory partners will award 50 hours of support over three months for up to 10 finalists to prepare for a pitch session where they will have the opportunity to win up to $550,000 in vouchers and cash prizes. The first stage of the prize closes on May 24. To learn more about the prize, how to enter, and the initiative behind the funding, visit the competition page.