Hydropower and seasonal pumped hydropower storage in the Indus basin:pros and cons

Julian David Hunt, Giacomo Falchetta, Simon Parkinson, Adriano Vinca, Behnam Zakeri, Edward Byers, Jakub Jurasz, Emanuele Quaranta, Emmanuel Grenier, Amaro Olímpio Pereira Junior, Paulo Sergio Franco Barbosa, Roberto Brandão, Nivalde José de Castro, Paulo Smith Schneider, Lara Werncke Vieira, Andreas Nascimento, Yoshihide Wada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The Indus basin has a large hydropower untapped potential for electricity generation and to regulate the Indus river flow, which could reduce flooding events and provide water supply during drought periods. In this paper, a computational module is developed to localize potential sites for hydropower generation and seasonal pumped hydropower storage (SPHS). The levelized costs for hydropower generation in the basin with conventional dams are as low as 12 USD/MWh, the cost of energy storage is 1 USD/MWh. In case of SPHS plants, the cost of energy storage is 2 USD/MWh. It can be concluded that the conventional hydropower potential is, for the moment, less expensive than SPHS, but its potential in the Indus basin is limited to 26 GW with hydropower costs below 50 USD/MWh and its reservoirs have a short lifetime due to the high sedimentation rates of the basin. SPHS would be an interesting alternative to complement the hydropower potential adding long-term water and energy storage with fewer sediments, social and environmental impacts. Given that the region has the highest potential and lowest costs for SPHS in the world, it could become a major player on seasonal and pluri-annual energy storage in Asia and globally.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Energy Storage
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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