Major utility E.On is planning a new pumped storage power plant in Germany to contribute to continued growth of the country’s renewable energy capacity.

The German utility has filed an application to enlarge the capacity of an existing pumped storage power plant in Hesse, central Germany, by building a new 300 MW facility.

The €250 million project could be completed by 2016.

“Powerful, highly efficient pumped-storage hydro stations play a key role in making Germany’s energy supply reliable and flexible,” said E.On Energie CEO Dr. Ingo Luge. “Pumped-storage stations are superbly suited to balancing out the intermittent output of renewables because they can store energy very efficiently and come onstream at a moment’s notice to supply zero-carbon, environmentally friendly electricity.”

The new pumped storage plant will be built next to the existing Waldeck 2 plant on Lake Eder. The site is ideal for building new capacity because much of the required infrastructure is already in place.

Construction is scheduled to start in 2012 and will take four years. The new plant will be built completely underground and the volume of Waldeck 2’s upper reservoir will be increased by ten per cent by raising its retaining walls.

The new plant will bring Waldeck’s capacity to 920 MW when it comes on line – equivalent to 15 per cent of Germany’s total pumped storage capacity.

“Enlarging Waldeck’s pumped storage hydro station underscores E.On’s ambitious plans for supporting renewables growth in Germany,” said Luge. “Renewables can only begin to realize their full potential when they work in tandem with flexible energy storage systems like pumped storage hydro stations.”