On Wednesday, 12. February 2020, the exploreASEAN delegation was able to look into the most important source of energy production for Switzerland - the hydro-electric power plants. The visit of the Ruppoldingen power plant, which is operated by Alpiq, raised awareness about the relationship of water use and the production of eco-friendly electricity.
The Ruppoldingen Hydro-Electric Power
The Ruppoldingen hydro-electric power plant is a low-pressure run-of-river power plant. It uses the fall of the River Aare over a distance of around 8.4 kilometres to produce electricity. Equipped with two turbines, the power plant has an output of 22.1 megawatts and generates around 115 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Its turbines have a diameter of 5.9 metres and are among the largest runners in Switzerland.
Electricity from water
The river Aare washes up vast quantities of floating material such as branches, leaves and civilisation waste, which gets stuck to the rake system of the power station. The trash rack cleaning machine lifts this rubbish out of the river and thus contributes to the cleaning of the Aare. The incoming water then drives the turbines, which are coupled to the generator via the gearbox. The turbine mechanism directs the water at the optimum angle onto the turbine blades and regulates the water volume. Thanks to adjustable water flow blades, the machine runs at optimum efficiency even when the water flow and gradient vary. The generator converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy, in order to transfer the energy to the power grid.
Bypass watercourse with fish ladder
With the reconstruction of the power plant in 2000, numerous measures for the ecological upgrading and protection of the Aare were implemented. Instead of the old canal, a 1200-metre-long bypass watercourse now runs past the power plant, through which fish can migrate upstream. The watercourse links the habitats and has developed into a valuable area for flora and fauna. Ecologically valuable shallow water zones, islands and forests have also been created. The bypass watercourse in Ruppoldingen is regarded as a good example of the environmentally friendly use of hydropower.
Aare electricity is eco-friendly electricity from the region. The local hydroelectric power stations in Ruppoldingen, Gösgen and Flumenthal produce the environmentally friendly Aare Strom from the renewable, CO2-free hydropower of the Aare. With a small surcharge per kilowatt hour, customers support regional renewable energy projects.
The exploreASEAN delegation was very impressed about the sustainable development of the Hydro-Electric Power plant. After the company visit the delegation felt highly aware of the importance of environemntal friendly electricity which water is able to provide through sustainable handling of resources.