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Alpiq in: Switzerland
Alpiq Group

Story: 31.03.2009

Weinfelden small hydroelectric power stations: Renaturation of the River Thur

Weinfelden - branches of the River Thur, maintenance works

Electric fisherman Markus Grünenfelder

Weinfelden - Thur Canal at the Widen power plant

The Thur Canal at the Widen power plant.

Having undergone canalisation followed by renaturation, the River Thur is once more accessible to the public and the local fauhna, and offers adequate protection against flooding.

A broad course, well-wooded banks - some steep, some flat - a variety of changing currents and natural gravel beds combine to create a landscape that is rich in diversity, where not only the number of wading birds has increased, but also the former riparian forests are enjoying a new lease of life.

And even the beaver, which only two centuries had died out in Switzerland, feels once more at home in Thurgau. The area surrounding the Thur Canal and its tributaries now provides a habitat for more than 200 beavers, whose industrious building of canals and dams clears groves, letting in more sunlight, and in so doing helping to promote biodiversity.

This is in keeping with Alpiq's aim. Through Alpiq Ecopower AG, the company has a stake in Wasserkraftwerke Weinfelden AG, which operates the three small hydroelectric power stations of Widen, Model and Mühle on the Thur Canal, harnessing the waters of this erstwhile torrent to produce around 10 GWh electricity a year: enough to meet the power requirements of 3,000 households. Three additional small hydroelectric power stations planned by Alpiq on the Thur will supply another 1,000 households with electricity.

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