Uniper to recommission 160 MW pumped storage plant in Germany

The Happurg pumped storage plant was shut down in 2011 for safety reasons after the base of the upper reservoir was damaged. Uniper has carried out feasibility studies on the site, with a view to reconnecting it to the grid in 2028. The facility can store approximately 850 MWh of electricity in the form of pumped water. 
Pumped storage hydropower plant
Pumped storage hydropower plant Happurg Maschinenhaus | Image: Uniper

Uniper has said it will invest approximately EUR 250 million ($267 million) to recommission a pumped storage plant in Happurg, a town located in Bavaria, southeast Germany. The Düsseldorf-headquartered utilities multinational plans to reconnect the facility to the grid in 2028

Biggest pumped storage facility in Bavaria

The Happurg plant is one of the largest pumped storage facilities in Germany and the biggest one in Bavaria. At 160 MW, it has a drop height of 209 meters and can store around 850 MWh of electricity. It was shut down as a safety precaution in 2011 after the base of the upper reservoir was damaged.  

But hopes to recommission the plant were not entirely abandoned, and it has been subject to intensive subsoil investigations and geotechnical assessments. A feasibility study was carried out and approved by relevant authorities. The study outlined a technical concept for the rehabilitation of the upper basin, which would enable the project to be restarted.  

Construction work will start immediately, said Uniper. According to the company’s CEO, Michael Lewis, the plan will work for all parties involved. It will cater to strong industrial demand for predictable power plant capacity in southern Germany as well as Uniper’s goal of having 80% of its generation capacity be carbon neutral by 2030.  

Pumped storage is by far the most proven large-scale energy storage technology.
Klaus Engels
Director of hydropower, Uniper

The project is also a key expansion for Uniper’s hydrogen portfolio. “Pumped storage is by far the most proven large-scale energy storage technology. They are emission-free, inherently sustainable and make an important contribution to grid stability and security of supply – enabling the integration of fluctuating solar and wind power and thus paving the way for the energy transition,” said the company’s director of hydropower, Klaus Engels. 

Uniper mostly operates in Germany, the UK, Sweden, and the Netherlands, although it has operations in more than 40 countries. In addition to pumped hydro storage, the company offers traded commodities, digital services, renewables advisory, and nuclear decommissioning, among others. 

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