The plan, which will be implemented in 2019, will see a reduction in the company's pumped storage hydropower capacity to 2.5GW from 2.8GW.

The plants that will be affected include PSW Goldisthal (Thuringia) 1.060 MW, PSW Markersbach (Saxony) 1.050 MW, PS Hohenwarte II (Thuringia) 320 MW, PS Hohenwarte I (Thuringia) 63 MW, PSW Niederwartha (Saxony) 40 MW, PSW Geesthacht (Schleswig-Holstein) 120 MW, PSW Bleiloch (Thuringia) 80 MW, PSW Wendefurth (Saxony-Anhalt) 80 MW.

The restructuring program is aimed at optimising plant operations, securing core competencies in all areas and further reduction in planned investment volume and other cost items.

According to the plan, the company could reduce the number of 420 full-time employees at the facilities by about 60% by the end of 2019. The company is expected to begin talks with German Workers’ Councils about the impact of the restructuring plan on individual plant locations and to discuss viable solutions for affected employees.

Vattenfall Business Area Generation Head Torbjörn Wahlborg said: “Due to the price development on the German electricity market and the regulatory framework for existing storage facilities, Vattenfall’s pumped storage power plants have been under considerable economic pressure for years.

“The measures that are now being introduced are a major challenge for all stakeholders, but they have become the only realistic chance to keep most of our German pumped storage plants in long-term operation.”

The company claims to have invested around €60m in upgrading and modernizing the pumped storage plants in Germany since 2011. Presently, these are claimed to be the only large-scale generation facilities with a capacity to store surplus electricity from renewable energy sources.

Image: Vattenfall proposes to cut jobs at German pumped storage facilities. Photo: Courtesy of Vattenfall AB.