Contact: Andrew Blakers

Investigators: Matt Stocks, Anna Nadolny, Ryan Stocks, Cheng Cheng, Bin Lu, Andrew Blakers

Our pumped hydro energy storage atlas uses geographic information system (GIS) techniques to identify potential pumped hydro energy storage sites. Data for Australia and Malaysia can be found below. Our global Bluefield atlas will be released in 2023.

The global Greenfield atlas ignores existing lakes and reservoirs and can be accessed on National Map HERE.

The Bluefield atlas using existing reservoirs as one of the pair. These Bluefield sites are presented below by size and storage duration.

Wall heights are adjusted for each reservoir in a pair to yield equal water volumes to achieve the targeted energy storage. Energy (= head * volume * density * g * efficiency) and storage-length combinations are provided in Table 1. The last line is the approximate number of people that the reservoirs could service for a 100% renewable electricity grid (see “How much storage is needed”).

  2 GWh 5 GWh 15 GWh 50 GWh 150 GWh 500 GWh 1500 GWh
6 hours - - - - - -
18 hours - - - - -
50 hours - - - - -
168 hours - - - - - -
504 hours - - - - - -
Millions of people 0.1 0.25 0.75 2.5 7.5 25 75


The table below contains a link to each Bluefield full screen map, and kml downloads that can be opened on Google Earth Desktop or Online.

Bluefield PHES Size Link Download Spreadsheet
2 GWh 6h Map 20 MB 265 KB
5 GWh 18h Map 22 MB 258 KB
15 GWh 18h Map 16 MB 151 KB
50 GWh 50h Map 10 MB 78 KB
150 GWh 50h Map 3 MB 27 KB
500 GWh 168h Map 1 MB 3 KB

This report explains the methodology behind this work.

5GWh 18h

15GWh 18h

50GWh 50h


Bluefield PHES Size Link Download Spreadsheet
2 GWh 6h Map 8 MB 95 KB
5 GWh 18h Map 9 MB 106 KB
15 GWh 18h Map 8 MB 87 KB
50 GWh 50h Map 5 MB 34 KB
150 GWh 168h Map 2 MB 14 KB
500 GWh 168h Map 1 MB 11 KB
1500 GWh 168h Map 50 KB 11 KB

5GWh 18h

50GWh 50h


None of the PHES sites discussed in this study have been the subject of geological, hydrological, environmental, heritage and other studies, and it is not known whether any particular site would be suitable. The commercial feasibility of developing these sites is unknown. As with all major engineering projects, diligent attention to quality assurance would be required for safety and efficacy. In particular, the suitability of existing dams for use as PHES reservoirs would need to be confirmed. Possible depth fluctuations are calculated using the surface area of each existing reservoir. The publicly available datasets used for this work contain inaccuracies – these depth fluctuations should be viewed as indicative. PHES pairs are presented with no limit on depth fluctuation of the existing reservoir, nor any analysis of environmental, social, geological, hydrological etc. impacts of these fluctuations.

There has been no investigation of land tenure apart from exclusion of some environmental areas and urban areas, and no discussions with land owners and managers. Nothing in this list of potential site locations implies any rights for development of these locations. Accuracy of the sites depends on the accuracy of the source data. There may be sites that fall into protected areas or urban areas that are not identified by the source data. In coastal regions there may be a few lower reservoirs sitting on top of the ocean due to limited accuracy of the DEM data.

Banner photo by Dirk von Loen-Wagner on Unsplash.

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