Ayt Project

160MW Project Hybrid Pumped Storage Project Ayit, Israel

Pumped Storage

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Project Ayit is a pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH) power plant, located at Mount Ayit, in southern part of the Negev desert, referred to in the following as the “Arava” or “Eilat-Eilot Region”. Project Ayit is the most prestigious project in the portfolio of Solaer, which on its own has the potential to elevate the company from a PV developer to a significant player in the Israel energy system. It is a highly innovative project, by combining renewable energy generation with utility scale storage providing a solution for an area which due to its geographic position is only weakly interconnected to the electricity system that is concentrated at central and northern Israel.
Solaer plans to employ Poyry and other professional subcontractors, but also envisages hiring one or two dedicated project managers. A key focus in the development of such a project will be minimizing risks and costs. The PSH method stores energy in the form of gravitational potential energy of water pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation. Water is pumped to the upper reservoir in times of excess energy and released to the lower reservoir when energy is required in the system, activating a water turbine.

load balancing

The key function of project Ayit is load balancing. While the power plant can consume energy from the grid to pump water it is currently considered that it will be accompanied by a large-scale photovoltaic power plant which surplus energy will be used during peak sun time to run the pumps. This will allow to deliver renewable energy also during high demand hours at low insolation. With a response time of less than 12 seconds, the project is also able to contribute to the stabilization of the overall electricity grid in case of short-term failures at various power plants.

Eilat–Eilot Region consumes around 150 MW in average throughout all the year. During the daytime the regional PV plants produce more energy than is consumed, therefore, feeding the central and northern grid. Due to the weakness of the interconnection, only 25% of the oversupply is used. From late afternoon till sunrise, IEC currently supports the regional electricity needs with long distance electricity supply. Due to the remote location of the region it is estimated that IEC losses account for around NIS 30m per year not including balancing costs and other. The water used for the Project is taken from lightly salted

ground water abundantly available in the region with currently no use for agricultural purposes or other. Evaporation is dealt with solutions like HEXA-COVER® FLOATING in order to minimize losses. The site at Mount Ayit has been selected in cooperation with Poyry on the basis of geological surveys, statutory analysis, water sourcing, and discussions with relevant regional stakeholders and the electricity authorities. Based on these features, Project Ayit has gained strong support across the board from the regional administration to the same extent as from national authorities

and Israel Electric Corporation as system manager. The Project’s intellectual property is shared between Voith Hydro from Austria and Solaer. In summary, the companies managed to create a combined off-grid PV system with an efficient storage that enables to use cheap solar energy on a 24/7 basis in the Arava / Eilat-Eilot region.

PUMPED STORAGE PRODUCTION Winter

PUMPED STORAGE PRODUCTION summer

Regulation

In 2012, the Israeli government allocated 800 MW for pumped storage projects. So far two projects were approved and are under development, leaving 160 MW open to be allocated. IEC is reluctant to approve a third pumped storage project in northern and central Israel, however has been very favorable to the Ayit Project, contributing to the solution of a number of issues related to the rather isolated location of the Arava desert area, north of Eilat at the Red Sea. Due to the weak interconnection of the south with the national grid, energy supply is currently secured by a methanol power plant located in Eilat. Risks for opposition are minimal, as discussions were already held with the regional authorities as well as environmental entities in order to coordinate the location.