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Switzerland - new pumped storage power plant in Finhaut: The Alpine battery


Two lakes, a huge dam and six high-performance turbines: there is a gigantic pumped storage plant in Switzerland. The new facility can store enough electricity to charge 400,000 electric cars. Simultaneously.

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Finhaut, Switzerland

This reservoir in Finhaut, Switzerland has much more to offer than just a picturesque view: one of the most powerful pumped storage power plants in Europe is located here.

The plant, which went into operation in July, not only produces electricity from renewable energies, but can also store electricity.

– And that with an output of 900 megawatts.

Alain Sauthier, Power Plant Manager

»The amount of energy that can actually be stored in this system is simply gigantic.

To give you a number: That's about 20 gigawatt hours.

That may not tell you much, so I'll make a comparison: That's roughly the capacity of 400,000 electric car batteries.

This means that with a full tank of fuel you can charge 400,000 electric car batteries at the same time in Vieux Emosson.«

The »Nante de Drance« power plant is located between two basins, the upper Lac du Vieux Emosson and the lower Emosson reservoir.

It works like a large battery: when demand is high, electricity is produced and fed into the power grid.

– However, if production from renewable energy exceeds demand, the plant can store the excess electricity.

For this purpose, water is pumped into the higher lake.

600 meters below ground, 360 cubic meters of water per second are then fed through six turbines – mostly in the afternoon, at night and at weekends, when power consumption is lower.

Some energy is lost during storage, but the yield is still very good at around 80 percent.

Alain Sauthier, Power Plant Manager

'It's a big facility.

It is almost equivalent to a nuclear power plant.

This means that we have a major impact on the Swiss electricity grid, and in a very short term, as we can start our turbines in less than five minutes.

This is also a big advantage, we are very flexible.

And then I would say that it is not only important for Switzerland, but also on a European level, because if we have a lot of intermittent energies that will feed the grid, it will contribute to the stability of the grid and the security of supply in Europe.


14 years of construction and around two billion euros were invested in the pumped storage power plant.

In view of the energy crisis in Europe and possible bottlenecks in winter, it was probably finished at exactly the right time.

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-08-05

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