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Alpiq starts construction on 1.9-MW Hüscherabach small hydropower plant

Huscherabach Hydropower Plant

Alpiq and the municipality of Rheinwald (GR) are collaborating to build a 1.9-MW small hydropower plant.

The new power plant will generate 6.1 million kWh of electricity a year from renewable energy sources, equivalent to the average annual consumption of 1,500 households.

In the Splügen region in the Swiss canton of Grisons, construction work on the Hüscherabach small hydroelectric power plant has just started. The new, state-of-the-art power plant will replace the old plant, which was built in the 1930s and which was owned by the municipality of Rheinwald.

The new plant will increase the production of renewable, domestic energy by a factor of almost six and boost energy generation from 1.1 million kWh to around 6.1 million kWh per annum.

The small hydropower plant with a high head of water will use the Hüscherabach stream, which flows into the Hinterrhein River near Splügen. The high-pressure plant consists of a water catchment, a 2,240-m-long penstock and the power station, which houses a 1.9-MW Pelton turbine. The construction work will last about 18 months, involve local companies and thus also generate added value for the region’s economy.

Alpiq and the municipality of Rheinwald are investing about CHF10 million in the construction of the small hydropower plant. The two partners own 60% and 40% respectively of Wasserkraftwerk Hüscherabach AG. The project has been granted support from the Swiss federal investment incentive program for the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources.

A number of measures are being implemented to reduce the environmental impact of the plant. Among other things, they address the protection of fish at the water intake and the safeguarding of a dynamic flow of residual water in the stream. The Hüscherabach project will also contribute to a comprehensive ecological compensation scheme for the revitalisation of the Hinterrhein river where it flows through the municipality of Rheinwald.

This project is currently in the development phase and is scheduled for implementation over the next few years.

This article was originally posted on Power Engineering International and was republished with permission.