Düsseldorf-based international energy company Uniper has announced that it plans to develop two solar parks near Huntorf and Wilhelmshaven in the German state of Lower Saxony with a combined capacity of 317 megawatts (MW).
The first project is planned to be built on an area of around 281 hectares with an expected capacity of approximately 300 MW in Elsfleth in the district of Wesermarsch in the Oldenburg region.
The solar power plant will be located near Uniper’s Energy Transformation Hub in Huntorf, which features a compressed air energy storage (CAES) plant and a cavern storage facility. This will enable the production and storage of green hydrogen with the electricity generated at the solar park.
The second solar park is planned to be realized in the area of the ash landfill at the former Wilhelmshaven coal-fired power plant. This solar park has an expected capacity of 17 MWp. In the future, the solar plant, with more than 30,000 modules installed on an area of about 14 hectares, is expected to generate 16,000 MWh of renewable electricity annually.
In addition, the facility will be located close to Uniper’s Energy Transformation Hub Northwest, which includes the group’s hydrogen plans for Wilhemshaven. Moreover, the town, located on Germany’s North Sea coast, is planned to host Uniper’s 1-GW electrolysis plant.
The solar park will be connected to the existing grid infrastructure at a Uniper site, making it possible to use the electricity to produce green hydrogen at the exact location later.
“Projects like the ones in Elsfleth and Wilhelmshaven are of great importance to us, also because of their proximity to our Energy Transformation Hubs. It is important for us to emphasize that the milestone now reached is not only a result of the efforts of our Uniper teams but also of the strong support of the community and regional authorities, who fully stand behind our decarbonization targets”, said Jörg Lennertz, Uniper Renewables, CEO in the press release.
Lennertz continues, “Many thanks to all involved, especially the landowners in Elsfleth and the responsible authorities and community of both Wilhelmshaven and Elsfleth. Our multi-gigawatt pipeline of renewables projects is growing steadily. Already, 1.5 gigawatts are under development across various European markets. Uniper’s new strategy aims for a greener future, and renewables play a very important role in this – not only in the implementation of the strategy but also in achieving our ambitious decarbonization targets.”
The first project received the development decision from the municipality of Elsfleth on August 18, 2023, formally marking the beginning of the urban land use plan process. The second project also granted statutory resolution on August 30, 2023. The statutory resolution for the project is not expected before the end of 2024.
Uniper is driving the transformation in Wilhelmshaven and the nearby regions through its “Energy Transformation Hub Northwest” initiative. Under this initiative, Uniper is undertaking various projects, including the Green Wilhelmshaven project, aimed at contributing to the development of the hydrogen economy.
In the future, green ammonia is to be landed in Wilhelmshaven and will then be transformed into hydrogen. Additionally, the plan is to produce more green hydrogen through an electrolysis plant with a capacity of one gigawatt, powered by offshore electricity generated on-site.