Every summer, millions of people across the country stay indoors to keep cool and stay healthy. In a summer like 2021’s record-setting heat wave, there’s nothing more satisfying than the feeling of a crisp, air-conditioned room.
But heat is not just inconvenient; it can be dangerous. In the United States, more than 600 people die from extreme heat every year, and that number could climb because of the effects of climate change. If everyone cranks up their air conditioning or turns on fans, the grid — which shuttles our electricity from place to place — can short-circuit, putting millions at risk—from hospitals, grocery stores, to nursing homes, and even our schools.
One of the biggest ways our grid avoids short-circuiting? Water batteries.
(Pumped-storage hydropower is the most dominant form of energy storage on the electric grid today. It also plays an important role in bringing more renewable resources on to the grid.)
Also known as pumped storage hydropower, water batteries are made of two big pools of water, one high above the other, that act like an hourglass to provide power. They’re some of the biggest batteries on Earth, and that’s just one of many reasons we love pumped storage hydropower — and you should too!
In honor of National Hydropower Day on August 24, here are 10 reasons to appreciate how important — and powerful — water batteries are, and why we need to continue…