The FID facilitates works including conversion and expansion of the Rudolf Fettweis hydropower plant, located in the northern Black Forest, Germany


EnBW takes FID on German pumped hydro project. (Credit: EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG)

German electric services company EnBW has made the final investment decision (FID) for the Forbach pumped storage power plant and new lower reservoir project.

The FID facilitates works including conversion and the expansion of the Rudolf Fettweis hydropower plant, located in the northern Black Forest, Germany.

The existing conventional storage power plant will be upgraded and turned into a high-capacity pumped storage power plant, in the coming few years.

EnBW said that the expansion project would cost a total of around €280m, with construction expected to commence this fall and be complete by the end of 2027.

EnBW sustainable generation infrastructure chief operating officer Georg Stamatelopoulos said: “EnBW has a clear generation strategy focused on the accelerated expansion of renewables and achieving climate neutrality by 2035.

“To accomplish this, we require additional dispatchable capacity and storage reservoirs that can quickly deliver electricity on demand and ensure stable grid operation.

“The new pumped storage power plant in Forbach aligns perfectly with these objectives, making it an ideal and essential complement to the expansion of our renewable generation capacity.”

The company said that the project has been approved, following an extensive planning approval process led by the regional authorities in Karlsruhe.

The Karlsruhe regional administration issued the planning approval in March this year, after more than five years of work by numerous experts and sectoral authorities.

The existing Rudolf Fettweis hydropower plant has a total capacity of about 71MW and contains four individual hydroelectric power plants built between 1914 and 1926.

It includes the Schwarzenbach dam with 14 million cubic meters of water capacity, and the Forbach and Kirschbaumwasen impoundments.

As part of the expansion project, the company will build a new powerhouse, integrated into the hillside, to host the power plant technology.

It includes a pump turbine for the Schwarzenbach power plant to generate around 54MW in turbine mode and 57MW in pump mode, allowing water transfer from a lower reservoir to the upper reservoir.

The new powerhouse will also include a new power plant technology for the Murg plant, which comprises three Francis turbines with a total output of about 23MW.

EnBW will also expand the existing Forbach equalisation basin, by adding a cavern water reservoir in the adjacent hillside, which will serve as a lower reservoir for the new plant.