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Alpiq partner of the XFLEX HYDRO project

A major new energy innovation project to demonstrate how smart hydropower technologies can deliver a low-carbon, reliable and resilient power system was launched on 10 December 2019.

The €18 million initiative was announced by the European Commission and a consortium of 19 partners at the United Nations climate change conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain. It will show how innovative and flexible hydropower systems can help countries across the world meet their renewable energy targets.

Over the next four years, XFLEX HYDRO innovations and technologies will be demonstrated at hydropower plant sites across Europe. Enhanced variable- and fixed-speed turbine systems, smart controls and a battery-turbine hybrid will be tested. Alpiq leads the demonstrator at the pump station of Z’Mutt, part of the Grande Dixence complex in Switzerland, which involves the renewal of Unit 5 to test new operation modes in variable speed using a full-size frequency converter.

The XFLEX HYDRO (Hydropower Extending Power System Flexibility) project is a four-year initiative by leading utilities, equipment manufacturers, universities, research centres and consultancies. It will demonstrate how modern hydropower plants can provide the vital power grid services required by variable renewables such as wind and solar power.

The launch comes after a major UN Emissions Gap Report looking at ways to reduce global carbon emissions said that greater power system flexibility was “key” to integrating larger shares of variable renewable energy into the power supply.

The Hydropower Extending Power System Flexibility (XFLEX HYDRO) project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857832.