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A turbine spins inside the main generating hall at the Kaprun Limberg II pumped storage power plant, operated by Verbund AG, in Kaprun, Austria, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Pumped-hydro plants like Kaprun, with 830 megawatts of capacity, can store enough power to cover almost 100,000 households for more than a week. Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

China's State Grid to Spend $5.7 Billion on Pumped Hydro Plants

The projects will have a total capacity of 6 GW

(Bloomberg) -- State Grid Corp. of China, the dominant electricity distributor in the world’s biggest energy consumer, will invest 38.7 billion yuan ($5.7 billion) to build five pumped hydro storage plants as part of the nation’s efforts to ease idled solar and wind power capacity.

The projects, in Hebei, Jilin, Zhejiang, Shandong provinces and the far west Xinjiang autonomous region, will have a total capacity of 6 GW and are expected to come online from 2026, the company said Wednesday in a statement.

Pumped hydro storage allow excess power to be saved by pumping water from lower to upper reservoirs when electricity demand is low, then releasing it back down to generate electricity when consumption is high.

China is utilizing technologies such as large-scale storage and ultra-high voltage power lines to help reduce renewable power waste. The nation aims to develop about 40 GW of pumped hydro storage capacity by 2020.

Xinjiang and Jilin are among regions in China with the highest curtailment rates of renewable power. Overall, the nation idled about 2.9 percent of solar power in the first nine months of last year and 7.7 percent of wind.

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