The construction of the new FMHL+ power station in Veytaux, which began in April 2011, is progressing well. Forces Motrices Hongrin-Léman SA (FMHL) is taking this opportunity to present one of the country's most significant power station construction sites to the public on 1 September 2013. Interested members of the public will be able to visit the tunnels (which are over 1.5 km long) for the water supply lines, as well as the impressive machine cavern: doubtlessly the highlight of the visit. This "cathedral in the mountain", the centrepiece of the new pumped-storage power station, is 75 % excavated. The cavern is currently over 37 metres high, 98 metres long and 25 metres wide. Once it is finished, the power station will be 56 metres high. On the tour of the construction site, visitors will also learn about the significance of the new station with regard to Switzerland's power supply.
Peak energy of around one billion kWh The FMHL power plant ensures the connection between Lake Geneva and the 880 metres higher Hongrin reservoir. During periods when the demand for electricity is high, the reservoir's water is used to drive the turbines in the Veytaux power station, then fed into Lake Geneva. Conversely, when electricity consumption is low, water is pumped up from Lake Geneva into the Hongrin reservoir, where it is stored. The FMHL+ project will increase the capacity of the Veytaux pumped-storage power station from 240 MW to 480 MW, whereby 60 MW serve as reserves. With peak energy of one billion kWh, the power station will practically double its average annual production of 520 million kWh. The new plant is scheduled to be commissioned at the end of 2015. The project partners Romande Energie (41.13 %), Alpiq (39.31 %), Groupe E (13.13 %) and the city of Lausanne (6.43 %) are investing a total of CHF 331 million in the project.
An essential supplement to the new renewable energy sources This project is a response to the rising demand for balancing energy, which provides for the balance between generation and consumption. The main reason for the increasing demand in Europe and in Switzerland is the expansion of new renewable energy from wind turbines and photovoltaics. As production of this energy is directly dependent on the weather, it is subject to fluctuations and must be supplemented with balancing energy. Thanks to their high flexibility, pumped-storage power stations can compensate for such fluctuations by generating electricity during peak times and by using the electricity surplus during low-load periods for pump operation.
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