German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel visited Voith Hydro
On Friday, August 27, the “energy tour” by German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel brought her to Voith Hydro’s R&D laboratory Brunnenmuehle in Heidenheim to find out about the state of art in hydroelectric power.
From left to right: Rainer Bruederle, Federal Economics Minister, Stefan Mappus, Minister President of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, Dr. Hubert Lienhard, President & CEO Voith Group.
She was accompanied by a high-ranking delegation consisting of leading politicians of the region and of Rainer Bruederle, German Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, as well as Stefan Mappus, Prime Minister of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
For Chancellor Dr. Merkel, the last day of her “energy tour” started at the construction site of Rheinfelden hydro power plant where Voith Hydro is currently installing four bulb turbines. Upon completion, the power plant will supply clean energy for approximately 200,000 households and will allow for yearly carbon dioxide savings of around 300,000 tons.
Dr. Merkel’s next stop was Heidenheim visiting the Brunnenmuehle, the laboratory where – amongst many others – also the Rheinfelden machines were developed. The Brunnenmuehle laboratory is the heart of Voith Hydro’s global R&D network. More than 150 engineers work in one of the most modern test centers for hydro power technology, which was thoroughly modernized and extended with an overall investment of around 20 million Euros in 2008.
According to the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety hydro power accounted for approximately 19,000 GWh green power generation in Germany in 2009. Even though traditional hydro power in Germany is highly developed, technical modernizations can still make increased outputs possible.
Hydroelectric power will be an essential part of a sustainable energy mix of the future. Further development of renewable energy sources is possible under the condition of reliable solutions for energy storage at hand to balance load variations of the electrical grid. Pumped storage power plants provide this vital ability and already step in to an increasing degree.
An installed capacity of 6.6 GW from pumped storage is available in Germany; nine new pumped storage plants are under construction in Europe with three of them being equipped with Voith Hydro’s newest technology from the Brunnenmuehle.
Voith Hydro is a Group Division of Voith and - with a workforce of currently almost 4,700 employees and an order intake of almost 1,3 billion Euros in the business year 2008/2009 – belongs to the world-wide leading companies for hydro power equipment.
Source: Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA