Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Atdorf at Rest

Solar and wind energy require storage facilities to bridge periods when the non-fossil energy sources are not available. A most elegant solution is to use existing water reservoirs already producing electricity and upgrade them with water pumps. The latter will be turned on when there is surplus electrical energy from renewable sources, pumping water uphill back into the reservoir.

With the need for electricity in Germany’s south that is produced by off-shore wind parks in Germany’s north, local storage facilities are welcome. To this end, an artificial water reservoir near Atdorf in the south of the Black Forest is in the planning stage. Red Baron has reported about the compromised Atdorf project that has now been put to rest definitively. One Green deputy in Baden W√ľrttemberg's state parliament called the Atdorf's exitus "extremely regrettable. The decision is economically comprehensible but unwise in terms of energy policy".

Artist's view of the upper and lower water reservoir near Atdorf (©Der Sonntag)
In fact, the decisive arguments for stopping the project were economic. With the cost for electricity way down in Europe, the 1.6 billion euros for the construction of the Atdorf facility are just too high. Its capacity on the other hand is too small. A fully filled Atdorf reservoir would produce electricity at full power for a mere nine hours. In the meantime Germany's continuous electricity supply is assured by many small gas-fired power plants. A final argument is that surplus renewable energy is more and more stored economically either in second-generation batteries or by producing hydrogen or methane electrochemically.

R.I.P. Atdorf, and the Black Forest stays green.

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