Voith to provide equipment for new Ritom pumped storage powerhouse

Voith has received an order for the Ritom pumped storage power plant in Switzerland, which began operating in 1920 and will be replaced with a new facility.

Voith will be responsible for design, fabrication, installation and commissioning of the new generating units. The four Pelton turbines with a total capacity of 44 MW that are used in the Ritom pumped storage power plant will be replaced by two 60-MW Pelton turbines and a 60-MW storage pump.

The electricity produced by Ritom is of crucial importance for the operation of the rail network by Swiss Rail (SBB) and for supplying power to the Ticino region, Voith says. The total investment volume for the construction project is about CHF250 million (US$251.7 million). The new plant is scheduled to go into operation in mid-2023.

Ritom SA, a joint venture between SBB and the canton of Ticino, is the plant owner. As the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, the canton of Ticino and Ritom SA want to increase the proportion of hydropower in electricity generation in the next few years, the expansion of the power plant at this location is especially important, Voith says.

The different designs and purposes of the generating units mean that Voith’s engineers have exacting requirements to meet. The first machine unit will supply power for the 16.7 Hz Swiss Rail network and the operation of its trains. The second will feed the electricity it generates into the 50 Hz public grid.

The third unit, with a delivery head of more than 700 m, will pump the water for reservoir management and to provide balancing power (operating reserve) from the Airolo basin to Lake Ritom. In combination with the turbine, the pump can provide the operating reserve for fast grid regulation and stabilization with maximum flexibility. This means the new power plant will provide a feed-in reserve/intake balance of 60 MW for the 50 Hz Swiss grid.

The Voith Group is a global technology company, with a broad portfolio of systems, products, services and digital applications. Voith Hydro is part of the Voith Group and a full-line supplier and trusted partner for equipping hydropower plants.

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