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Schwarze Pumpe

Schwarze Pumpe

Schwarze Pumpe Power Plant

Schwarze Pumpe Power Plant , in the German Federal State of Brandenburg, is a lignite-fired double-block unit.

History of Schwarze Pumpe Power Plant

The industrial park in south-east Brandenburg, where Schwarze Pumpe Power Plant is situated, was founded back in 1955. Three briquette factories were established, as were three power plants, which at the time produced 11% of all power consumption in the DDR. The industrial park expanded enormously during these years and employed thousands of people.

In 1992 the planning for the new power plant Schwarze Pumpe became a reality; construction of the plant started in 1993 and it was commissioned in 1998. The investment amounted to DM 4.5 billion and the power plant is scheduled to be in operation until after 2040. 

Characteristics of Schwarze Pumpe Power Plant

Schwarze Pumpe Power Plant consists of two units and part of the heat produced during power production is extracted from the process and used to supply district heating to the nearby towns of Hoyerswerda and Spremberg. 

The power plant has a net efficiency of more than 40%. The steam generator is 159 metres high and has an observation deck of 161.5 metres at the top. Moreover, process steam from the power plant is used for briquette and paper production in a neighbouring industrial area. The lignite required for power production is mainly extracted in the nearby Welzow-Süd and Nochten open-cast mines.

The name “Schwarze Pumpe”

The name of the village Schwarze Pumpe was first mentioned in 1852 and came from the name of a restaurant called “Die Schwarze Pumpe”, (the black pump in English). According to a legend, a watering hole (a “pump”) for horses was erected next to the then nameless restaurant back in the early 17th century. This was at the time of the Thirty Years’ War when Swedish troops under King Gustaf II Adolf wreaked havoc in the area. 

In 1630, the Swedish army landed on the shores of Usedom, a peninsula in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where they defeated the German troops and forced them into an alliance. The Swedish troops advanced and reached the southern parts of Germany during the following year. In 1634, the German army was able to win over the Swedes and force them back up north. To protect the restaurant and the nearby residents from the itinerant Swedish mercenaries, the pump was painted black. We can find the reason for this in the significance of the colour black, which indicated the ravages of the feared “Black Death”, the plague, in the region at this time. Painting the pump was a successful ploy; the Swedish soldiers avoided the place and plundered elsewhere. The 20th century and its emerging industrialisation marked the start of the mining activities and the first power plant was established in the region. 

The coal-fired power plant Trattendorf – Schwarze Pumpe grew and became a settlement with a few hundred residents, but the Second World War stopped the development. From 1955 on, the mining activities in the region continued and the first power plants in Schwarze Pumpe were built.