The final phase-out of nuclear power generation in Germany was completed in 2023, leaving the country with the task of managing the remains of six decommissioned commercial reactor sites. Developers are now taking a cue from the emerging trend of converting abandoned coal-fired power plants into battery storage systems.

The 1,912 MW Würgassen nuclear power plant began operating in 1975 and was shut down in 1994. As all of the fuel elements have been removed, municipal energy supplier Westfalen Weser has announced plans to develop a 120 MW/280 MWh battery energy storage system at the site in Würgassen, North Rhine-Westphalia.

[See also: Converting a coal plant into a Carnot battery]

The decommissioned facility is deemed suitable for battery storage since much of the required it has the required infrastructure in place, including a transformer station and corresponding lines. The new facility is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2026, with investments totaling around €92 million ($99.6 million), and will contribute to grid supply stability.

In 2023, grid- and system-serving storage facilities in Germany had a total capacity of 1 GWh. This capacity will increase to up to 130 GWh within the next decade and will increase more than twelvefold to around 1 GWh in the region served by the Würgassen plant.

Another large-scale battery is also planned on a former nuclear power plant site in Schleswig-Holstein. An 800 MW/1,600 MWh storage facility is planned for the Brokdorf nuclear plant, which ceased operations in 2021.

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