Image credit: ANDRITZ Hydro © Strabag

Austrian technology company ANDRITZ Hydro has selected Hitachi ABB Power Grids to supply technology for grid connection and stabilization for a pumped storage hydroelectric power plant under construction in the Hajar Mountains, 140-km southeast of the city of Dubai, UAE.

The Hatta pumped-storage power station is a first-of-its-kind project in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf region. It is being developed by the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) and will provide up to 250MW of clean, renewable and flexible energy when commissioned in early 2024.

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Hitachi ABB Power Grids will deliver two AC excitation systems, based on power electronic converters. The systems will ensure variable speed operations of the reversible rotating units. Hitachi ABB Power Grids will also supply an integrated solution to connect the plant to DEWA’s 132 kV network.

The final concept is based on a shaft type powerhouse, hosting two pump turbine motor-generator units with 125 MW each. © Strabag

The pumped-storage hydroelectric power station comprises a lower reservoir near the Hatta (Al Hattawi) dam with 1,716 million gallons of water capacity, and an upper reservoir built into the mountain about 300 meters higher with up to 880 million gallons of water storage capacity. During off-peak hours turbines will pump water about 4km from the lower to the upper reservoir, using power drawn from the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park. Stored water will be released to the lower reservoir during peak-load hours, driving turbines to quickly generate electricity to meet peak demand.

The technology provided to ANDRITZ Hydro uses a PCS8000 converter for the AC excitation, enabling the machine to run at variable speed. This ensures optimal operational efficiency and variable power operation in pump mode without compromising transient behavior of the machine.

According to a statement from ANDRITZ Hydro: “This unique undertaking to generate electrical energy using pumped storage power technology in the desert has a signal effect for the future of clean energy in the generation mix. It’s a flagship project not only in the Arabian Peninsula, but for every hot and dry region of the world.”