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Switzerland, Germany and Austria agree to pumped-storage development initiative

BERLIN 5/10/12 (PennWell) -- A joint initiative signed by Germany, Austria and Switzerland calls for the development of more pumped-storage power plants.

The document -- signed earlier this month by Phillipp Rosler of the Austrian Ministry of Economics and Technology; Reinhold Mitterlehner of Germany's Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth; and Doris Leuthard of the Swiss Council for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications -- declares pumped storage is essential to Europe's energy and climate policy objectives.

European countries have agreed to lower their greenhouse gas emissions 20% by the year 2020 -- a goal fueled in large part by investments in forms of renewable generation like wind and solar power.

As the initiative notes, however, "pumped storage power plants are the only industrially available storage technology present," and their development is essential to "offset the volatile supply of wind and solar systems."

The agreement not only calls for the expansion of existing pumped-storage facilities but also cross-border transmission of energy currently being produced.

A copy of the joint initiative can be found online here.

Recently, Germany's Thuringia State announced it had identified 13 potential sites for constructing pumped-storage plants that would total 5,130 MW.

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