German firms target slag heaps for integrated pumped-storage hydro, wind projects

Germany-based firms RWE and RAG have signed a letter of intent to co-develop integrated pumped-storage hydro and wind projects at RAG's coal slag heap sites in North Rhine Westphalia.

A pilot project is proposed at RAG's waste dump at Halde, near Hamm-Pelkum, with detailed planning beginning as early as 2011, a press release states.

The concept would integrate intermittent wind output with the flexible response of pumped-storage hydropower to provide steady, dependable power.

The planned combined power plant will use wind power at times of high wind output to pump the water of the pumped-storage power plant from a low-lying reservoir to a reservoir on top of the waste heap, some 50 meters higher up, media reports indicate.

The companies have given themselves an 18-month timeframe to examine wind conditions, permitting issues and costs for the project.

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