A novel renewable energy project in Germany will see two sources of green power - wind and hydro energy - combined to create a world first. The new project will build the world's tallest wind turbine to date and integrate it with a new pumped-storage hydroelectricity scheme.
The development will be housed in a German forest and be progressed by GE Renewable Energy and Max Mogl Wind AG.
Wind energy and hydro power are growing in prominence across the globe. Hydropower has been described by the International Energy Agency as the biggest sole source of renewable power in the world today. Wind energy is also moving towards becoming increasingly competitive, mainstream and reliable as a power source.
Located in the Swabian Franconian forest of Germany, the project will have considerable scale. The wind turbines will have a total height that exceeds 246 metres, and at each base there will be a water reservoir.
There will also be a nearby valley located around 200 metres below the wind turbines themselves, and this will store a generator and pump with a lake. The generator will have a 16MW capacity alone. When there is sufficient wind to power the turbines, it will be used to generate electricity. When electricity demand peaks, water will be released from the storage reservoir at the turbines' base. This will flow downwards to power the turbine and to create energy.
When demand is low, the water will be pumped back up to the storage reservoir so that it is ready to use again.
The project is already in construction, and the four wind turbines are expected to enter commissioning by the year end. The entire plant is expected to be operational towards the end of next year.