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Further milestone achieved for the Nant de Drance pumped storage power station in lower Valais

The Board of Directors of Atel and SBB have approved a joint project (Atel 60%, SBB 40%) to construct the Nant de Drance pumped storage power station with an investment of CHF 990 million. Approval is subject to the license and building permit being issued and additional cost limits being set for construction and operation. Construction is scheduled to begin in the middle of 2008 with operation to follow in 2015.

Board of Directors of Atel and SBB approve construction loan

The project will take advantage of the height difference between two existing reservoirs, Emosson and Vieux Emosson, in the Valais community of Finhaut located between Martigny and Chamonix to produce peak energy. The Nant de Drance power station is designed for  around 600 megawatt turbine and pump output. The plant will be constructed completely underground. Access to the caverns which are located at 1,800 m above sea level is provided through a five-kilometre long tunnel. This will minimise the environmental impact of this large power station.

With regard to changes in demand during peak times, Nant de Drance will make a key contribution both to securing supply in the Swiss electricity grid and to covering the pronounced consumption peaks in SBB railway operation and other private railways supplied by SBB such as TRAVYS or BLS. The right machine technology can offset grid fluctuations and irregular production from renewable energies in no time at all. The plant, with its state-of-the-art technology, will have an extremely high level of efficiency, reaching more than 80%.


Further information about the project as well as press photos for downloading available on,