Old Mines Can Be Used for Energy Storage

Photo-illustration: Unsplash (Dan Meyers)

In addition to renewable energy production facilities being built left and right, the energy transition we are striving for also requires the construction of energy storage facilities since the efficiency of renewable sources, such as solar and wind farms, is susceptible to weather conditions.

Reversible hydropower plants are one of the ways to achieve efficient storage of green energy and, thus, energy stability.

They work by pumping water into the upper reservoir when there is an excess of electricity from renewable sources in the power grid. When necessary, they run turbines by releasing water from the upper reservoir into the lower reservoir, thus producing green kilowatts.

More reversible hydropower plants around the world will enable a more stable transition to clean energy. Researchers from the National University in Australia indicate that abandoned mines could be used for the construction of such hydropower plants.


According to the Science Direct journal, scientists located 904 mining areas in 77 countries around the world that can be used for the construction of reversible hydropower plants.

Research results indicate that hydro plants built on tailings, pits and lakes of former mines could store as much as 30TWh per year.

According to researchers, mines are mostly equipped with water pumps, roads, power distribution grids, and other infrastructure, which greatly facilitates the construction of such hydropower plants and reduces their negative environmental impact. One such hydropower plant will be built by the end of 2024 in Queensland, Australia, and its pump storage capacity will be 2,000MWh.

Milena Maglovski