The Truth About Pumped Hydro

The Truth About Pumped Hydro

This video was created in partnership with Bill Gates, inspired by his new book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.” Find out more here:

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Writer/Narrator: Brian McManus
Editor: Dylan Hennessy
Animator: Mike Ridolfi (
Sound: Graham Haerther (
Thumbnail: Simon Buckmaster




Thank you to AP Archive for access to their archival footage.

Music by Epidemic Sound:

Thank you to my patreon supporters: Adam Flohr, Henning Basma, Hank Green, William Leu, Tristan Edwards, Ian Dundore, John & Becki Johnston. Nevin Spoljaric, Jason Clark, Thomas Barth, Johnny MacDonald, Stephen Foland, Alfred Holzheu, Abdulrahman Abdulaziz Binghaith, Brent Higgins, Dexter Appleberry, Alex Pavek, Marko Hirsch, Mikkel Johansen, Hibiyi Mori. Viktor Józsa, Ron Hochsprung


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  1. You obviously don't understand or know… that the earth is constantly making oil that has to be consumed or it will put all of our lives at risk. Maybe you should do some real research and tell the truth about how oil is made and why we have to do something with it.

  2. there is no climate crisis. lol. also fossil fuels have problems. that is true, but your thing about subsidies is also shite cause you have to look at total production. not new production. I prefer solar myself. It is the least intrusive. where are we now? 21 percent? when will the 30 percent panels plus come down in price?

    btw. how is pumped hydro for home use?

  3. haha no mention of the increase needed in renewables to power the pumps to push water uphill and for each 100watts for the pumps you only get back about 60 watts from the generators – at the cost of a billion dollars you could build new cheap 1 Giga watt modular molten salt nuclear reactor that will run 24/7 and it can load follow due to its negative temperature characteristics. billy gates is investing in these in china

  4. What climate disaster? The world is in a natural cycle which is not going to change because a handful of countries decide to go green for political advantages. Which is what it is all about.

  5. there is just one solution, it's ridiculous, we could have had it 20 years ago, it's called FUSION, don't believe the lies around fusion development, it's being suppressed by the oil and gas industry. The US spends but a fraction on fusion development that it provides the oil and gas industry in tax brakes.
    fusion is the only answer.
    sadly, a lot of "green" energy business models are nothing more than pump and dump schemes.

  6. Had an interesting thought the other day: South Africa has some big pumped hydro (biggest is 27 GWh of storage), but as far as I know we've tapped out the suitable locations, and need a lot more to transition to more renewables on the grid. What we do have though are very, very deep mines: 16 of the 22 mines deeper than 2 km are in South Africa, most near Johannesburg, the major economic hub of the country. Looking at the mine dumps around Johannesburg it's clear that a lot of material was removed from those mines, and several in the 3 – 4 km deep range are closed. A 3 km head is… substantial – even with the modest storage at the surface that could be accommodated on the existing grounds of the mines, they should represent significant pumped hydro capacity. Am I missing something here that makes it impractical? It is possible to pump water from the bottom of these mines – that's required for the mining operations already.

  7. Are they considering hydrogen from electrolysis as a form of energy storage yet? Do you already have a video about that? (the more I document myself about these energy modulation and energy storage problems, the more I think that nuclear fission using thorium is the only viable solution)

  8. Subsidies are stealing from to poor, to give money to benefit a certain group. They are a disgrace, where they go to. Politicians spending the poors money to get votes.

  9. The main issue with renewable are they are less reliable due to the variable nature. They always needed to be backed up by fossil fuel generators. Hopefully in future battery technology and super capacitors may help to store MW of power and release when needed

  10. @RealEngineering, please make a detailed video on "The Bouchain Power plant" – world’s most efficient combined-cycle power plant located in Bouchain, France.
    Also make a video on Thermal Power plants and how to increase their efficiency.

  11. Hydrogen for… long term storage? Something is wrong here, in gas form half of it cross the wall and it's lost, just because it's so small, steel get brittle (yes, a problem); and if you use cryogenics, you lose the hydrogen to keep it cool (typical method, allows a part to evaporate, so it takes heat from the rest keeping it cool),.. long what?

  12. When someone posts a comment that reads "I like what you said : "Not just one solution". Too often people are looking for a silver bullet instead of several solutions working together to solve a problem." That is a bot. This channel pays for bots to like, comment, and subscribe. If you upvote and reply to such a comment, you are duped and become part of the fraud.