Just to experience first hand the drone of the turbines or to gaze in wonder at the vast quantity of floating refuse that the raking system fishes out of the river: The very first Swiss Hydropower Day presented the Swiss population with an opportunity to look behind the scenes of a hydroelectric power station. Around 4,500 people visited the six Alpiq power stations that opened their doors for the day: The Grande Dixence dam (canton Valais, VS), the Emosson dam in combination with the Nant-de-Drance pumped storage power station (canton Valais, VS), the Forces Motrices Hongrin-Léman (FMHL) pumped storage power station in Veytaux (canton Vaud, VD), the Gösgen run-of-river power station (canton Solothurn, SO), the small hydroelectric power station in Murkart (canton Thurgau, TG) as well as the Airolo storage power station (canton Tessin, TI), which is fed by water from the Lucendro dam in the Gotthard region.
Fantastic supporting programme for young and old During guided tours or information trails, the visitors were quickly convinced by the economical, ecological and typically Swiss electricity generation from water and were able to re-enact their experiences using models. The snacks served to fortify and refresh were based entirely on the regional traditions, sausage and bread for the German-speaking part of Switzerland, a friendship glass in the French speaking part and delicious risotto in Ticino. Musical entertainment, competitions with attractive prizes and additional attractions, ensured entertainment for both young and old.
Spectacle on Lake Geneva
The Veytaux pumped storage power station near Montreux was a particular attraction. Here a test of the gate for emptying the Hongrin reservoir situated above Montreux, led to an extraordinary spectacle. Over a period of a quarter of an hour, around 20,000 litres of water per second shot 350 metres into Lake Geneva in the form of an enormous horizontal fountain. The 200,000 HP strong fountain of water even hid the majestic Chillon Castle behind a white curtain.
The first Swiss Hydropower Day was thus a huge success and will be remembered as a positive experience by both the visitors and the organisers alike.