Coal mine to be transformed into 200 MW pumped hydro plant 

Posted: March 20, 2017 by oldbrew in Energy, News
Tags: , ,

What could possibly go wrong? Like all pumped storage, every ‘refill’ uses more electricity for the pumping than is generated by its water release. The UK is also looking to develop similar schemes. The motivation is the intermittency of renewables.

The German state of North-Rhine Westphalia is set to turn its Prosper-Haniel hard coal mine in Bottrop into a 200 MW pumped-storage hydroelectric plant reports PEI.

The facility will act like a battery and will have enough capacity to power more than 400,000 homes, according to state governor Hannelore Kraft.

Other mines may also be converted after Prosper-Haniel because the state needs more industrial-scale storage as it seeks to double the share of renewables in its power mix to 30 per cent by 2025, she said. North-Rhine Westphalia generates a third of Germany’s power.

The consortium running the Prosper-Haniel project, which includes the University of Duisburg-Essen and mine owner RAG AG, are confident that the mine is suitable to become a storage pump. The plan to reinvent Prosper-Haniel envisages creating reservoirs above and below the closed mine, according to a blueprint posted on the group’s website.

When needed to compensate intermittent wind and solar power, as much as 1 million cubic meters of water could be allowed to plunge as deep as 1,200 meters, turning turbines at the foot of the colliery’s mine shafts. The mining complex comprises 26 kilometres (16 miles) of horizontal shafts.

Source: Coal mine to be transformed into 200 MW pumped hydro plant – Power Engineering International

  1. A C Osborn says:

    Every new layer added also adds cost and inefficiency.
    Green madness.

  2. Dennisthemenace says:

    Water table adulteration and pollution anyone ???

  3. Dennisthemenace says:

    Oh and when the current climate fad has passed and they find they really need the coal, the mines will probably be irrecoverable.

  4. Dinorwig is operated not to help meet peak loads but as a STOR (Short Term Operating Reserve), providing a fast response to short-term rapid changes in power demand or sudden loss of power stations. It also assists with “black start” conditions

    there has to be enough spinning reserve to cover the trip of the biggest generator on the grid. Dinorwig is rated at 1.65GW.
    The plant runs on average at 74–76% efficiency.
    As a battery that is not bad

    Hinkley C is 1.6GWe per turbine additional coverage for turbine trip is therefore wise.

    An additional facility has been approved-ish
    The Glyn Rhonwy Pumped Storage scheme has been designed to bring new life to two dis-used slate quarries in the slopes of Cefn Du mountain in the Dyffryn Peris valley approximately 1.5km north west of Llanberis and 11km south east of the town of Caernarfon. The scheme will utilise two disused slate quarries; Glyn Rhonwy and Chwarel Fawr.

    This will provide an additional 100MW stor.

  5. oldbrew says:

    Dennis – they don’t need mines any more, they scrape the coal off the surface…

    Germany Plans to Raze Towns for Brown Coal and Cheap Energy

    Villages face the bulldozer as one of Europe’s renewable energy leaders leans more heavily on an old habit.

    Germany is the world’s largest producer of brown coal

  6. Doonhamer says:

    Sounds a bit like frakking.
    Will they capture the released gas?

  7. Gamecock says:

    ‘The motivation is the intermittency of renewables.’

    And when they are done, renewables will still be intermittent.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Dinorwig was ‘the largest civil engineering contract ever awarded by the UK government at the time. […] 12,000,000 tonnes (12,000,000 long tons; 13,000,000 short tons) of rock had to be moved from inside the mountain[…]The power station comprises 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) of tunnels, 1 million tons of concrete, 200,000 tons of cement and 4,500 tons of steel.

    So Brits can put the electric kettle on for a cup of tea after the TV soap episode ends, without crashing the grid 😐

    The monitoring of popular television channels is an important factor in electricity grid control centres.

    I know someone who worked on its construction. It was a beano for civil engineering contractors.

    The power station is also promoted as a tourist attraction, with visitors able to take a minibus trip to see the workings inside the so-called “Electric Mountain”; 132,000 people visited the attraction in 2015.

  9. Kip Hansen says:

    This is not a terrible idea — excess wind power or solar, not needed in the grid during the day or during high wind periods, can be dumped into storage as pumped water. Huge amounts of power can be consumed running turbines “backwards” (as pumps) and the energy recovered later (with some losses of course, by allowing the3 water to run back down through the turbines — when the electricity is needed.

    There is a pumped storage facility near our Upstate New York location, which uses cheaper electrical rates to pump up, then produces power later when rates are higher.

  10. oldbrew says:

    Kip – the point is this: ‘the state needs more industrial-scale storage as it seeks to double the share of renewables in its power mix to 30 per cent by 2025’.

    Without the renewables obsession the money could be saved and electricity costs kept lower. Somebody has to pay the bill for the scheme.

  11. oldbrew says:

    Solar power is threatening to put pumped hydro power out of business, for older facilities at least…

    Date: 20/03/17 Bloomberg

    ‘The facilities at risk used to make money buying cheap power at night to pump water up mountains, then releasing it downhill to turn generators during the day, when prices were higher. While they were cash cows before the era of wind and solar, market conditions are now so bad for pumped-hydro plants that Sweden’s Vattenfall AB and Norway’s Statkraft AS say they might close plants in Germany, while Alpiq Holding AG wants to unload some units in Switzerland.’

    ‘While solar and wind get 20 billion euros ($21 billion) in subsidies per year from Berlin, the pumped-hydro plants get nothing but more regulation and rising bills for grid access.’

    ‘The jump in solar generation has eroded the traditional premium for daytime peak over nightly rates to just 25 percent. It was more than four times that in 2008. Even income from providing near-instant power to the grid at times of high demand has dwindled, dropping as much as 95 percent over the past six years. [bold added]

  12. Bloke down the pub says:

    Anti-fracking campaigners complain about the risk of polluting the water table. How pumping water into and out of an old mine can possibly be seen as a good idea is beyond me.

  13. michael hart says:

    Seems reasonable to me, assuming that it doesn’t cost a lot, which it shouldn’t, considering that the hard digging has already been done.

    But on the grand scale, things like this won’t make much difference because such opportunities are simply too few and too small.

  14. oldbrew says:

    Energy to go: the world’s smallest hydropower plant

    Sick of your phone running out of battery? Now you can use a mini water turbine to charge it up! The German design is already in demand from African communities wanting to generate their own hydropower.

    Seems expensive 😦

    Maybe mass production will make it more affordable.

  15. DavidH says:

    “state governor Hannelore Kraft” The surname means “power”. Come on, this is all a joke, right?