German state eyes 13 pumped-storage sites totaling 5,130 MW

ERFURT, Germany 12/12/11 (PennWell) — Germany’s Thuringia State announced it has identified 13 potential sites for constructing pumped-storage plants that would total 5,130 MW.

Thuringia Economy Minister Matthias Machnig said the 13 sites, including three existing dams, are particularly suitable for pumped-storage development.

The two largest existing pumped-storage plants in Germany are 1,060-MW Goldisthal in Thuringia and 1,050-MW Markersbach in Saxony. Over the next 10 years, most of the new pumped-storage plants in Europe are expected to be constructed in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

“We now have a good database to attract more investors for Thuringia,” Machnig said. “This is a great opportunity, not only for climate protection, but also for business, communities, employment, and tourism.”

Utilities plan 400-MW Schmalwasser at existing dam

Of the 13 sites, only one has been formally announced by sponsors, municipal utility network Trianel GmbH and water supplier Thuringer Fernwasserversorgung. The 400-MW Schmalwasser pumped-storage project is proposed to be built using the existing Schmalwasser Dam for a lower reservoir.

A new upper reservoir would be constructed with an underground tunnel system, pump station, and powerhouse. The utilities said the estimated 500 million euro (US$666.2 million) Schmalwasser project is expected to go on line in 2019.

Machnig said November 24 that the remaining 12 proposed projects have no specific plans at this time and would be subject to wide participation by local communities.

The three sites with the greatest potential were identified as 760-MW Lehesten in Westliches Thuringer Schiefergebirge (Western Thuringian Slate Mountains), 710-MW Floh-Seligenthal in Westlicher Thuringer Wald (Western Thuringian Forest), and 630-MW Theuern in Sudliches Thuringer Schiefergebirge (Southern Thuringian Slate Mountains).

Other sites were identified as Ellrich in Sudharz; Altenfeld and Grossbreitenbach in Ostlicher Thuringer Wald (Eastern Thuringian Forest); Reschwitz, Lothramuhle, and Leutenberg in Westliches Thuringer Schiefergebirge; Blechhammer in Sudliches Thuringer Schiefergebirge; and at existing dams Weida and Hohenleuben.

Thuringia’s Ministry of Economy, Labor and Technology said only a small fraction of the sites is expected to be developed in the medium to long term due to the high investment cost and huge planning effort. It said there would be a transparent process in which the interests of environmental groups and local residents are fully considered.

For information, see the Thuringia ministry’s Internet site,


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