Swissgrid calls on utilities to ready pumped-storage hydropower plants to meet winter demand

Reduced water levels behind conventional hydropower plants coupled with the closure of the 730-MW Beznau nuclear plant are causing Swissgrid to call on increased production from the country’s pumped-storage hydropower projects.

The Swiss power grid operator said earlier this week that a dry summer and fall have caused river levels to dwindle, causing concern for the country that draws the majority its energy from conventional hydroelectric sources.

According to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, Switzerland is home to more than 600 conventional and pumped-storage plants of at least 300 kW that provide 63% of the country’s total electricity.

Now, Swissgrid said, the country’s power generators will need to rely more heavily on their pumped-storage projects — which have a cumulative capacity of about 1,300 MW — to meet demand as spikes in winter demand loom.

“We just wanted to let utilities know that we may ask them to produce more power quickly, or to curtail their production,” company spokesperson Irene Fischbach said in a statement to Reuters.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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