North American PHES sites

The ANU is currently mapping pumped hydro energy storage sites throughout North America – with detailed information for individual countries to follow. Protected areas have been excluded from this map.

Fig. 1. Potential PHES locations in North America. Red areas are highly prospective with potential heads better than 800 m. Other colours are also attractive, although with lower potential heads.

These sites were found using algorithms with defined search criteria within a geographic information system (GIS) platform. This platform was used to find detailed information, such as head, reservoir areas, and storage capacity. This list is not yet exhaustive. We are also in the process of developing a cost model that will determine the least cost option for the tunnelling between two reservoirs, and therefore the location of the lower reservoir. The Australian atlas can be accessed through the link below for reference – the additional information mentioned above will be available in future releases of the atlas.


Data for upper reservoirs with 40m dam wall height in the United States can be found here. Minimum volume = 1GL; minimum W/R ratio = 3.

Google Earth can be used to view the potential reservoirs. Google Earth is free, and widely accessible. When used in 3-D mode with 3:1 vertical exaggeration, Google Earth provides good visualisation from any direction. KML files in the folder above can be loaded in the "Places" field to allow the user to visualise the potential reservoirs. These are shown with a representation of the dam walls. Clicking on a blue reservoir displays a pop-up with information about that reservoir, as does clicking on a dam wall.

An atlas of pumped hydro energy storage (pdf, 46 K)

Please refer to our Google Earth FAQs for more information.

Updated:  27 February 2019/ Responsible Officer:  RE100 Leader/ Page Contact:  RE100 Webmaster