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Coal Ministry plans pump storage projects on closed mines for hydro energy

India

Coal Ministry plans pump storage projects on closed mines for hydro energy

Coal Mines India
Coal Mines India

New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) In a major diversification plan, Coal India Limited (CIL) and its subsidiaries are planning to set up pump storage projects (PSP) on huge tracts of decoaled (closed mines) lands at their disposal.

According to highly placed sources, the plan to set up such projects in the first phase will be finalised in a month’s time, as the central government is quite bullish over such projects.

Part of the coal ministry’s ambitious plans is to diversify towards alternate sources of energy and through these pump storage projects, it plans to utilise solar energy to develop hydro projects.

The power ministry earlier this year had come out with guidelines for PSP initiative and the coal ministry plans to develop such projects based on them, sources informed further.

Under it, the CIL and its subsidiaries will use their closed mines, which have water stored in them, to lift it through solar energy. It will set up reservoirs over such closed mines where the lifted water will be stored. During night time, it will use the water lifted through solar energy to generate hydro energy.  

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“We have decoaled land where underground reservoirs of water are there, while we need to build over ground reservoirs on such mines. We are making plans towards this. In a month, the first phase plan will be ready for PSPs. We want to go for it in a big way,” a ministry source said.

Under PSP, all coal mines, where coal has been evacuated and water is there, will be turned into reservoirs after studying their feasibility and we will make reservoirs above them too. We will pull up the underground water through solar energy and store them in the over ground reservoirs and during night time, generate hydro energy which will run the turbine, the source added.

“Though PSPs are common abroad, it is a novel concept for India as we are thinking on these lines for the first time. A consultant will be appointed by the coal ministry and the action plan will be ready in a month. It’s a high priority area,” said an official.

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PSPs are called ‘giant batteries,’ and are an internationally accepted technology. It is conventionally used to stabilise the grid and maintain peak power. The ministry claims that this technology is a preferred choice with the rise of renewable energy.

The PSPs comprise two water reservoirs connected through a tunnel or underground pipe at different heights. When there is more electricity production and less demand, these projects pump water from the downward reservoir to the upward reservoir. When more energy is needed, water is pushed from the uphill to the downhill via a turbine to produce the required power instantly.

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