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Stantec completes report on pumped storage hydropower potential for WaterPower Canada

  • Stantec completes report on pumped storage hydropower potential for WaterPower Canada
  • Findings identify more than 8,000 gigawatts of pumped storage hydropower potential at almost 1,200 locations across Canada

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Stantec, a global leader in sustainable design and engineering, recently completed the Technical and Economic Potential Assessment of Pumped Storage Hydropower in Canada, a report commissioned by WaterPower Canada with funding support from Natural Resources Canada. The report was prepared by an alliance led by Stantec, in cooperation with the Australian National University, the Centre for Energy Advancement through Technological Innovation, and Power Advisory.

The aim of the report is to better understand the potential for, and strategic value of, pumped storage hydropower facilities in Canada as the country presses forward with the energy transition. Initiated in June 2022, the report identifies tremendous potential for pumped storage hydropower in Canada, with over 8,000 gigawatts of potential at almost 1,200 site locations. Most potential locations are in British Columbia, Québec, and Newfoundland and Labrador, with some opportunities in Alberta and Ontario. WaterPower Canada believes the results of the report will demonstrate the importance of pumped storage projects to facilitate large-scale energy storage in Canada.

The report was prompted in response to the Government of Canada’s commitment to achieve a net zero emissions electricity supply by 2035 and a net zero economy by 2050. This led WaterPower Canada, a national trade association that advocates for the Canadian hydropower industry, to commission research projects and explore opportunities to support the increase of installed hydropower capacity in Canada. The Technical and Economic Potential Assessment of Pumped Storage Hydropower in Canada was a key result of these thoughtful actions.

“This report shows that the potential for pumped storage hydropower, although not uniformly distributed across our country, is for all practical purposes inexhaustible,” said Michael Morgenroth, Stantec’s principal investigator on the project and business leader for hydropower and dams in Canada. “It is now a matter of identifying the need for pumped storage hydropower and selecting the most appropriate sites for development.”

Pumped storage hydropower accounts for over 90 percent of global electricity storage and provides large-scale, high-capacity storage. It also affords grid operators with a mechanism for frequency regulation, load following, inertia, reactive power, and black start capabilities. These features are becoming more critical with the integration of variable renewables in our electricity system—allowing for a more reliable, sustainable grid.

“Canada has a tremendous pumped storage hydropower resource, and we are pleased to work with Stantec and its team to highlight this,” said Gilbert Bennett, president, WaterPower Canada. “While Canada is the fourth largest hydropower producer in the world, pumped storage hydropower provides additional opportunities to integrate variable renewables reliably into the Canadian electricity system.”

A global leader in pumped storage, Stantec provides a full range of engineering and environmental services, including concept planning, implementation, and rehabilitation services over the entire life cycle of a project. Stantec has developed a global footprint in pumped storage from over 60 years of experience working with our international clients and has one of the largest teams of pumped storage specialists in the international consulting industry.

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