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Markersbach Pumped-storage Power Plant is the second-largest hydro power plant in Germany in terms of installed capacity. The plant is also one of the largest hydro power plants of its kind in Europe.

History of Markersbach Pumped-storage Power Plant

A competition to identify and define a location for a new pumped-storage power station was announced in 1961. Markersbach, south of Chemnitz on the Große Mittweida River in the western part of the Erzgebirge Mountains, was chosen as the location two years later. After all the investigations and preparatory work were completed, the actual construction began in 1970. This included building the facility itself, constructing roads and supply networks, expanding Grünstädtel railway station and relocating the inhabitants of the village of Obermittweida. Markersbach Pumped-storage Power Plant was commissioned in 1979 and has been operating ever since, except for during two renovation projects conducted in 1990, 1998 and 2007/2008.

Characteristics of Markersbach Pumped-storage Power Plant

The power plant consists of a top reservoir and a bottom basin. The top reservoir is an artificially constructed basin without any natural inflows. It has a height of 850 metres above sea level and can store 6.3 million m³ of water. The bottom basin construction is 563 metres above sea level. 

During times when a surplus of electrical power is available, the bottom basin pumps water up to the upper reservoir. The hydro power generating sets are housed in a 44-metre-high cavern about 120 metres below ground level.