French hydro operator links 45-MW Seyssel to local consumers

Hydropower utility Compagnie Nationale du Rhone (CNR) has completed direct connection of its 45-MW Seyssel hydroelectric project on the Rhone River to local distribution utility Energie et Services de Seyssel (ESS).

CNR said the 2.5 million euro (US$3.4 million) interconnection project will provide 50 gigawatt-hours annually of 100 percent renewable energy to consumers in Seyssel and 15 other area communities in Haute Savoie Prefecture served by ESS, of which CNR owns 22.6 percent.

The project began in 2002 as a way to reinforce the partnership between CNR and ESS by linking their facilities in geographic proximity. CNR said the project will increase energy security for area consumers.

To accomplish the interconnection, CNR built a substation and transformer at Seyssel, while ESS built a distribution station and underground connection between the two stations. At the time of the work five kilometers of power lines were hidden as an environmental improvement.

Built in 1951, the Seyssel hydro plant has three vertical Kaplan turbine-generators that generate an average of 185 GWh.

CNR owns 18 hydro plants on the Rhone ranging from 40 MW to 400 MW and totaling 2,937 MW. In March, it completed a 1.5 million euro (US$2.3 million) investment to build a direct transmission line between its 156-MW Caderousse hydroelectric project and an Owens Corning Fiberglas factory at Ardoise, France. (HNN 3/11/08)

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