SWITZERLAND: EXPLOITING UNUSED POTENTIAL
WWS Wasserkraft developed and produced the electro-mechanical equipment for the Curnera hydropower plant of Kraftwerk Vorderrhein AG (KVR) in Grisons, Switzerland. This makes it possible to exploit the difference in altitude between the two reservoirs Curnera and Nalps in the best possible way to generate electricity. Since the power plant was commissioned in December 2021, it now generates around 10 million kWh of green electricity per year, which supplies approximately 2,200 average four-person households.
Until recently, the connection between the two reservoirs was only used for water transfer. The potential of the height difference there, which is between 40 and 75 meters depending on the water level, was not used. Axpo AG, the majority owner of the hydropower plant and Switzerland’s largest producer of renewable energy, set itself the goal of utilising the pressure of this head and realised this project with WWS Wasserkraft. This is already the second project for WWS Wasserkraft for Axpo in Switzerland.
The goal was to convert one of the two existing « energy destroyers » so that energy can be generated with it. WWS Wasserkraft designed a complete turbine, especially for this purpose, the geometry of which was specially adapted to the different water levels of the two connected reservoirs. The scope of supply included the core piece, the 2.5 MW Francis turbine, the generator, the inlet valve and two hydraulic power units. In order to be able to transport the components, which weigh several tonnes, a specially constructed material cable car was used. The assembly of the equipment by the WWS employees took place in a water storage chamber 250 meters inside the mountain massif, which severely restricted the scope for movement. Due to the altitude, the cavern is also only accessible for a few months, so it required a tightly organised schedule. The deadline was met in time and the official operation started as planned in December 2021 after a test phase.
WWS Wasserkraft is pleased about the successful completion of the project and about being able to make another significant contribution to the energy transition by generating electricity from hydropower.
Have also a look at this video, showing impressions of the installation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEGoRkkKjI0