Storage biggest hurdle to Gold Reef City power idea

Cape Town – Turning Golf Reef City into a pumped storage facility makes as much sense as “a hamster charging your electric car while you sleep”.

That’s according to Fin24 user Mike Woolnough, who was responding to a Fin24 story quoting an energy expert that suggested this idea.

READ: How Gold Reef City could end load shedding

“It lacks capacity,” said Woolnough. “Sure, it has depth and probably a reasonable amount of water at the bottom. But where is the surface storage area? Pumped storage relies on surplus power being used to lift water into a storage dam/reservoir so that it can flow via gravity through turbines at peak demand periods.

“A couple of porta-pools scattered around the place just won't cut it! Many millions of litres need to be stored. Where are they going to build a storage reservoir with that capacity in that suburb?

“If abandoned and flooded mines are a viable pumped storage solution there are many other shafts that could be exploited in areas with a lot more affordable real estate,” he said. “However, I just don't see the idea as a credible and cost effective solution.”

READ: Gold Reef City hydro power idea ‘can be done’

Fin24 user Mike Malumani said the “main concern will be storage of the pumped water on the higher grounds”, while Fin24 user James Ricketts said “the topography and environment is not likely to be appropriate" for a dam on or near the surface to pump the water up to.

It’s a great idea

Fin24 user Geoff Skeen said it is a great idea. “The biggest problem with wind and solar power is its inconsistency and the need to store power to be used as and when required,” he said.

“Once the capital cost and some running costs are covered, pumped storage of these renewable sources is free,” he added. “Alternative battery solutions are just not viable right now.

“If all wind and solar power production could be linked to pumped storage schemes it would solve all our energy problems.”

Fin24 user Trevor Stone said it sounds like a great idea, “but how many megawatts could be produced and for how long till the water was back at the bottom of the mine?”

Fin24 user Vinolia Govender said Gold Reef City is an excellent source of entertainment and generates a lot of revenue for Johannesburg. “It should not be converted to a hydro power station and an alternate location should be considered,” she said.

* Is the Gold Reef City idea a pipe-dream or a good idea? Tell us why.

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