Uniper has taken the decision to re-commission its pumped storage plant in Happurg, east of Nuremberg. The company is investing around €250 million to help build a reliable energy infrastructure in Bavaria. The plant is scheduled to return to the grid in 2028.

This investment is part of Uniper’s previously announced strategy to invest in growth and transformation towards a greener business. It wants 80 % of its generation capacity to be carbon neutral by 2030, and the Happurg pumped storage plant will be an important strategic part of that. But, says Uniper, there is more – the company is starting where the energy transition often reaches its limits – in the reliability of power generation. Especially in southern Germany, with its strong industrial demand, there is a lack of predictable power plant capacity. With the Happurg plant, it will make more storage capacity available.

The 160 MW power plant has a drop height of 209 m and can store approximately 850 MWh of electricity in the form of pumped water. This makes it the largest pumped storage plant in Bavaria. The plant was shut down in 2011 as a precautionary measure for safety reasons due to localised damage at the base of the upper reservoir. Since then, intensive subsoil investigations and geotechnical assessments have been carried out and various remediation approaches have been examined.

Based on these findings, a feasibility study was conducted to develop and refine a technical concept for the rehabilitation of the upper basin, which will allow the plant to be restarted economically. This concept was reviewed and approved by the responsible authority, the District Office of Nuremberg, as part of a planning approval procedure. As part of the overall project, the equipment in the powerhouse will also be overhauled.

Construction work will start immediately and, if all goes well, the Happurg pumped storage plant will be back in operation in 2028.