A Cost–Benefit Based, Parametric Procedure to Screen Existing Irrigation and Municipal Supply Reservoirs for Wind Energy Storage

Mario Rosario Mazzola, Claudio Arena, Mario Genco, Ignazio Meli, Alessio Lombardo, Alessio Lombardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Pumped hydro storage (PHS) is one of the more suitable energy storage technologiesto provide bulk storage of intermittent renewable energy sources (RES) such as wind. Since themain limiting factors to the expansion of this mature technology are environmental and financialconcerns, the use of an existing reservoir can help mitigate both types of impacts. In addition,the high number of reservoirs for municipal and irrigation supply in many areas of the worldmakes the idea of using PHS as a relatively diffuse, open-market, technology for RES managementattractive. These arguments in favor of PHS must, however, be convincing for investors and regulatorsfrom an economic standpoint. To this end, this paper presents a methodological tool to screen thefeasibility of a PHS facility around an existing reservoir based on the principles of cost–benefitanalysis, calibrated with data from Sicily, Italy. Each potential plant is characterized by two locationaland two plant-specific parameters. Costs and benefits are assessed through a simulation model ofthe storage–release process on an hourly basis. Costs include both investment, and operation andmaintenance expenditures, while the benefits considered include the opportunity cost of the currentenergy mix substituted by the stored energy, and the avoided CO2 emissions. The evaluation exerciseis carried out parametrically, i.e., looking at a large number of combinations of the four parameters,in order to explore a wide range of possible plant configurations and to identify optimal ones underdifferent locational conditions. A sensitivity analysis performed on models’ parameters points outthe sensitivity of results to benefit, rather than cost-related, input parameters, such as the efficiency ofthe generating and pumping system and the opportunity cost of energy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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