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Nant de Drance: The culmination of a one-of-a-kind project

The ninth of September 2022 will remain a significant date for Nant de Drance. The inauguration of this 900 MW pumped storage power plant in Valais, Switzerland takes place today. The event marks the end of a 14-year construction project involving hundreds of labourers, skilled workers and engineers from all over Europe working in a challenging alpine and underground environment. Simonetta Sommaruga, member of the Swiss Federal Council and Roberto Schmidt, President of the Valais Council of State will participate in the official inauguration ceremony. The festivities will be dedicated to today’s youth, future generations and the future of energy.

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Gondosolar: The project is in full swing

"The preparations are going according to plan," says Beat Imboden, Managing Director of Energie Electrique du Simplon, EES, and Gondosolar project manager, in an interview. The project sponsor hopes that the canton of Valais will submit a formal proposal to the federal government in autumn 2022 to include Gondosolar in the cantonal structure plan. Imboden: "This would be another milestone."

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Bel Coster wind farm blocked again by a new appeal

At the end of August 2022, a group of opponents of the Bel Coster wind farm in the canton of Vaud’s Jura-Nord district submitted a new appeal with the Federal Supreme Court against the construction of the wind farm. This will result in a further delay in the realisation of the nine-turbine wind farm. The annual electricity production is expected to range between 65 and 90 GWh, most of which will be generated during the critical winter months.

Media release

Alpiq to reinforce the Aare Canal in Niederamt, Solothurn

In the autumn of 2022, Alpiq Hydro Aare AG will start reinforcing several sections of the embankments of the over 100-year-old Aare Canal in Niederamt in the canton of Solothurn. The measures were triggered by stricter seismic stability standards.

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Nant de Drance

The machine cavern with six turbine groups, each with an output of 150 MW, forms the heart of the Nant de Drance pumped storage power plant. Prior to the installation of the machinery, the cavern’s huge dimensions were already a striking sight: 194 metres long, 32 metres wide and 52 metres high. It is located 600 metres deep inside the mountain and can be accessed from the outside via a 5.6-kilometre tunnel. Alongside the power plant cavern lies the transformer cavern. It is somewhat smaller and houses the six transformers and the gas-insulated switching station for the connection to the 380 kV electricity grid.

Photo: Timo Orubolo