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EES completes modernization of Gondo hydropower plant in Switzerland

Published 13 September 2017

Energie Electrique du Simplon SA (EES) has completed the modernization of Gondo hydroelectric power plant in Switzerland.

While two hydroelectric groups were overhauled, the third was replaced with a new group, in order to increase the power plant’s output and generation capacity.

With its increased flexibility, the power plant can contribute towards regulating the electricity grid and ensuring Switzerland's security of supply. The public is invited to come and explore the power plant during an open day on Saturday, 16 September 2017.

The work on the three hydroelectric machine groups at the Gondo power plant in the Simplon region, which EES initiated in 2012, has now been completed. Group 3 was replaced with a completely new group in order to increase the output and generation capacity. Thanks to the additional 12 MW, the Gondo power plant now has a total output of 57 MW. The average annual production has increased by 15 million kWh, to 198 million kWh, which corresponds to the annual consumption of approximately 50,000 households. The modernisation has also increased the flexibility of the power plant, which can now also supply primary control power and reactive power to the national grid operator Swissgrid. Thus, the power plant also contributes towards regulating the electricity grid and ensuring Switzerland's security of supply. The new generation unit was commissioned in early June 2017.

To complement the replacement of Group 3, Groups 1 and 2 were overhauled in order to guarantee the power plant’s high level of availability. A range of measures was carried out on the machinery and the secondary components (control unit, regulation, protection, internal service, auxiliary installations). To optimise the operation, the EES facility is now controlled remotely from Alpiq's power plant operations centre in Lausanne.

The investment for the three machine groups amounts to a total of CHF 22 million. With the investment, the shareholders of EES – Alpiq 81.9%, EnAlpin 10.8%, EnBAG 3%, FMV 2.7% and various small shareholders 1.6% – have clearly shown their commitment to maintaining and developing Swiss hydropower, in spite of the currently difficult economic context. Wholesale prices remain below the production cost for hydropower.

Official inauguration and open day

The new Gondo power plant will be officially inaugurated on Saturday, 16 September 2017 at 11:00 hours. The visitors will include Roberto Schmidt, Canton of Valais cantonal councillor responsible the Finances and Energy Department as well as representatives of the municipal authorities and partners of EES. The general public is also invited to the event. Visitors will have the opportunity to visit the Gondo power plant and ask any questions they might have.

The Gondo power plant generates electricity using water from Lake Sera in the Zwischbergental valley. The power plant was first put into operation in 1952. It is a part of the Energie Electrique du Simplon hydropower facility, which also comprises the Gabi and Tannuwald power plants and the Eggen and Fah reservoirs. The total output of the entire facility is 74 MW and it generates an average of 247 million kWh per year.

Source: Company Press Release