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24 Jul 2020, 14:30
Benjamin Wehrmann

German government says pumped hydro power capacity to grow by 1.4 GW by 2030

Clean Energy Wire

The capacity of pumped storage hydro power stations available to the German energy system is expected to grow by about 1.4 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, with roughly one third of the capacity being installed abroad, the German government says in an answer to a parliamentary inquiry by the opposition party FDP. According to planning by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), the capacity will be provided by five new plants, two of which will be built outside of Germany, the government said. Regarding storage needs for its target of bringing the renewables share of power consumption to 65 percent by 2030, the government said it does not have any preferences for technology used for renewable energy storage. "Every grid operator makes these decisions for themselves" according to its specific technologic and economic needs, the government stated. There currently are 26 pumped storage hydro power stations in Germany with a total capacity of 6.3 GW and a further 3.4 GW are "regularly" provided from stations abroad, the government added.

The increasing reliance on renewables as its primary source of electricity makes it necessary for Germany to find solutions to how intermittent power supply by wind and solar plants could be transported and stored for continuous use, with pumped storage hydro power plants being merely one option among many others, such as batteries or hydrogen production. Thanks to their more favourable topography and excess hydro storage capacities, other European countries like Switzerland, Austria or Norway have become important partners for Germany to provide the necessary flexibility to its power system.

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