Plans unveiled for world’s first combined wind-pumped storage project

3 October 2016

Gaildork wind farm in Germany is to feature the world’s first combined wind-pumped storage plant in a project involving Max Bögl Wind AG, GE Renewable Energy, Naturspeicher and Voith.

GE announced last week it has signed a turbine supply agreement with Max Bögl Wind AG for the project, located in Germany’s Swabian-Franconian Forest on the Limpurger Berge uplands. The project will feature four units of GE’s new 3.4-137 wind turbine technology and a 16MW capacity pumped storage hydro-electric power plant, to be supplied under a separate agreement between Max Bögl, Naturspeicher and Voith. 

The base and surrounding area of each wind turbine tower will be used as a water reservoir, effectively increasing tower height by 40 meters.  At a total tip height of 246.5 meters, once installed these units will become the tallest wind turbines in the world to date.

“We are very excited to collaborate with Max Bögl on this pilot project; a first for the industry. We are committed to exploring innovative renewable energy technologies that have the potential to improve grid flexibility in Europe and around the world,” said Anne McEntee, President & CEO of GE’s Onshore Wind business.

The Gaildorf project marks a major step forward in balancing power demand and supply fluctuations using renewable energy sources.  The combined wind and hydro power plant will provide balancing power for fast-response stabilization of the grid, maintaining a low cost of electricity for residents in Germany.

GE’s 3.4-137 wind turbine generators will sit at a hub height of 178m, while the lower 40m of each tower and its surrounding area will be utilized as active water reservoirs to store energy.  A nearby valley, approximately 200 vertical meters below the wind turbines, will house an additional lake and a 16MW capacity pump/generator hydro plant.

The four wind turbines are expected to be commissioned by the end of 2017 and the full Gaildorf power plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.

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