2030 Finance | March 24, 2017

Turning old coal mines into hydroelectric batteries

The team at


Climate Finance

Elon Musk isn’t the only one with clever ideas for energy storage.

A half-century old coal mine in the North-Rhine Westphalia state in Germany is being converted into a 200-megawatt battery for hydro power.

The project would store power for 400,000 homes and continue to employ local workers.

If successful, it will help the region, which produces a third of Germany’s power, mostly from coal, make the transition to 30 percent renewable power by 2025.

Storage is essential to the expansion of renewable energy because it helps maintain electric capacity when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.

The plan for the mine calls for reservoirs above and below. Excess electricity would pump as much as 1 million cubic meters of water, which could be released as needed to turn turbines as it drops 1,200 meters to the bottom of the mine.

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Photo credit: Digitaltrends.com