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For over 20 years now, Alpiq's Ruppoldingen run-of-river power plant has been producing ecologically friendly renewable energy on the Aare river. When building the power plant, Alpiq placed great importance on comprehensive environmental substitution and compensation measures. These measures benefitted both flora and fauna and are one of the principal reasons why the power plant has borne the Association for Environmentally Sound Energy's (VUE) "naturemade star" label since 2010. The label is the top commendation for particularly eco-friendly energy produced from 100 percent renewable energy sources.
In the last few months the power plant run by the Alpiq subsidiary Alpiq Hydro Aare underwent and successfully completed the elaborate recertification process. This means the Ruppoldingen run-of-river power plant continues to meet particularly demanding environmental standards and is therefore entitled to bear the "naturemade star" label for a further five years from 2021 to 2025.
For every kilowatt hour sold in the form of certificates (certificate of origin) from the Ruppoldingen run-of-river power plant, 1 centime flows into the Alpiq eco-fund. The money from the Alpiq eco-fund is used to provide financial support for environmental revaluation and enhancement measures, primarily in the extended catchment area of the Alpiq power plant between Grenchen and Niedergösgen. These include, for example, the renaturalisation and revitalisation of river courses or the revaluation of rivers, lakes and streams to promote biodiversity. Since it was established ten years ago, the Alpiq eco-fund has supported over 100 projects with a total of over five million Swiss francs.
The money in the fund is specifically earmarked for such projects, with an independent steering committee supervising how it is allocated. The committee decides which projects the Alpiq eco-fund will support. At its last meeting, it resolved to support projects to the tune of over 220,000 Swiss francs. Over half of this amount, 122,000 Swiss francs, will be used for various measures aimed at ecological revaluation along the Aare river in Wolfwil in the canton of Solothurn. The Hydraulic Engineering department of the canton of Solothurn's Office for the Environment will be in charge of creating a 45-metre long oxbow channel in the area of Mattenhof/Chli Aarli. Two new ponds and a ditch will also be constructed. These additional habitats will create local, ecologically significant added value for flora and fauna.
In a previous decision, the committee had already pledged support for planned revitalisation and flood-protection projects along the Dünnern river. This will result in the creation of a local recreation area in Herbetswil (SO) that will benefit both visitors and wildlife. Other projects include in-stream revitalisation measures along the Witibach in Grenchen, which in recent months have transformed the channel back into an environmentally revalued, naturally flowing stream.
For more information on Ruppoldingen run-of-river power plant