The participation of the canton of Valais through its utility company FMV is based on the right of participation in new concessions that is anchored in the Valais Wasserrechtsgesetzt (Act on Water Law). After exhaustive assessment, the FMV has decided to take advantage of this right of participation also in the case of the pumped storage power station in the lower Valais. The increase in power is a welcome strengthening of its product portfolio. The new power station, with its 600-megawatt turbines and pumping power, will make a significant contribution to the secure supply of energy in Switzerland. It is foreseen that it should be commissioned progressively from 2015.
The project takes advantage of the gradient between the two existing reservoirs Emosson and the Vieux Emosson situated in the Valais border community of Finhaut between Martigny and Chamonix. The power station will be built completely underground. Access to the cavern that lies 1700 meters above sea level will take place via a 5.6 kilometre long gallery. Thus the large power station can be realised with minimal effect on the environment.
Important contribution to the secure energy supply
In view of the development in the demand for energy at peak times, Nant de Drance will make an important contribution both to the secure supply of energy in the Swiss electricity grid as well as to covering the pronounced peaks in consumption of the Swiss Railways SBB and the private railways they supply. Through the use of suitable machine technologies, supply grid fluctuations and also irregular generation from renewable energy sources can be compensated within the shortest of times. Thanks to state-of-the-art engineering, the efficiency of the power station will exceed 80 percent.