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In many cases they could. But the economics aren't that great. The storage hydro already provides pseudeo-pumped storage, becase they're seasonal, and they meet primary domestic demand.

So, whenever, say, Denmark's got a surplus of energy (and that's almost always because they're running their thermal plant so high; it's only due to too much wind for a few dozen hours per year), they can export to Norway/Sweden, who then turn down the output from storage hydro a bit, and use Danish power instead.

So, let's say Norwegian demand is running at 15GW, and that's supplied by 15GW of hydro - some run-of-river, some storage hydro. If Denmark's exporting 1GW, they can just turn down the storage hydro by 1GW. That way, their storage hydro acts as a pseudo pumped-storage anyway, because it's time-shifting its output.

So, they'd only need to consider building actual pumping facilities, once their total power imports exceed domestic demand.  They're not there yet. But if a dozen countries each fancied a few GW of interconnector with Norway, such that net imports to Norway might exceed domestic demand frequently, then the business case might start stacking up for retrofitting pumping facilities.

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Wed Oct 24th, 2012 at 12:03:34 PM EST
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