The water battery, built in Valais, Switzerland, which can store up to 20 million kWh of electricity, is scheduled to go live on July 1, 2022, Nant de Drance SA announced this week.

Intake of Lake Emosson

The Nant de Drance power plant is a pumped storage power plant located in an underground cave between the two reservoirs of Emosson and Vieux Emosson in Valais. The construction of the plant took 14 years and cost CHF 2 billion.

Located 600 meters below the cave between the Emosson and Vue Emosson reservoirs in Finhaut, Valais, the Nantes Dedans power plant is equipped with six pump turbines, each with a total output of 150 MW and a total output of 900 MW.

The short video below shows the location of a pumped storage power plant.

This plant can be used to store surplus electricity by using it to pump water between reservoirs of different altitudes. You can then reverse the flow of water to generate hydropower as needed. This is especially useful for weather-dependent power sources such as wind and solar. It also complements always-on production, such as nuclear power, which can be overproduced during off-peak hours.

Large hydroelectric batteries are set to play an important role in stabilizing the Swiss and European power grids. It also contributes to the safety of the Swiss power supply. On June 18, 2022, Federal Councilor Simonetta Somalga and Robert Schmidt, Chairman of the Valais State Assembly, visited the power plant.

The amount of water passing through the Nant de Drance turbine reaches 360 m3 per second. This is similar to the flow of the Rhone in Geneva in the summer. The upper reservoir of Vieux Emosson has 25 million m3 of water, which is equivalent to a storage capacity of 20 million kWh.

At the peak of construction, up to 650 workers worked at the construction site, and about 60 companies gathered to complete the construction. The cave of the power plant, 194 m long, 52 m high and 32 m wide, in the center of the mountain, required the excavation of 400,000 m3 of rock and a 17 km tunnel. To double the capacity of the reservoir, the Vieux Emosson Dam at an altitude of 2,200m was raised by 21.5m.

This facility is owned by the utilities Alpiq (39%), SFR (36%), IWB (15%), and FMV (10%).

Nant de Drance will be open to the public on Saturday, September 10th and Sunday, September 11th, 2022 when it is launched. For security reasons, space is limited and you are required to register for an Open Day event. You can register online from this link.

More about this:
Nant de Drance Press Release (French) – Take the 5 minute French test now

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