On 9 April 2013, the three new machine groups at the Navizence power station in Chippis (Canton of Valais) were put into operation simultaneously for the first time. They replace the seven machine groups that have been in operation for more than 60 years. These new machines increase the capacity of the power plant from 50 to 70 MW. The additional 20 MW will be held in reserve in order to optimise power generation, particularly during maintenance work, and will enable production to be increased in the event that the project for a new Vissoie-Niouc gallery currently under study is implemented. The power station itself will continue to generate around 300 GWh per year.
Increased operational efficiency and flexibility
The rehabilitation work, which began in April 2010, aims to modernise the plant and improve the efficiency of its hydromechanical and electrical equipment, in particular to enhance operational flexibility. This work has been planned in three phases in order to minimise operational outages. During the first two phases, the seven old machines were dismantled in stages to make room for the three new machine groups. The third phase now starting involves work to upgrade the powerplant building and is scheduled to be completed by December 2013, in line with programme planning. The cost of the work to modernise the Navizence power station amounts to CHF 75 million.
A century-old power station
The Navizence power station concession was renewed in 2004. The new concession was granted for a period of 80 years. The Navizence facility is part of the Forces Motrices de la Gougra SA power plant park, which harnesses water from the Moiry dam and Navizence river located in the Val d'Anniviers, as well as from the Tourtemagne upper valley. It was put into service for the first time in 1908 and generates nearly half the electricity production of the Gougra power plant park. The Gougra complex is the fifth largest hydroelectric facility in the Canton of Valais in terms of electricity production. Its shareholders are Alpiq (54%), Rhonewerk (27.5%), the Anniviers Communes (7.7%), Chippis (1.8%), Chalais (0.5%), Sierre (7.5%) and Sierre Energie (1%).