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Inauguration of Switzerland's second most powerful pumped storage facility

This morning, Forces Motrices Hongrin-Léman SA officially inaugurated Switzerland's second most powerful pumped storage power station in Veytaux (canton of Vaud). With an output of 480 megawatts (MW), of which 60 MW act as a reserve, the new power station contributes significantly towards Switzerland's security of supply and is perfectly in line with the Energy Strategy 2050. The public is invited to explore this new underground power station during an open day on Saturday, 13 May 2017.

Over 200 invited guests assembled in Veytaux this morning in order to take part in the official inauguration of the new Forces Motrices Hongrin-Léman SA (FMHL) pumped storage power station. The guests included representatives of the federal, cantonal and local authorities, as well as the project partners. Six years after the foundation stone was laid, FMHL's two new pump turbine groups are now fully operational. "The new FMHL power station will make a significant contribution towards meeting our country’s future power supply challenges and is perfectly in line with the Energy Strategy 2050," Pierre-Alain Urech, the Chairman of the FMHL Board of Directors, emphasized. Pumped storage power stations are essential in order to ensure the stability of the Swiss and European electricity grid in view of the rapid development of wind and solar energies. A fact that was also underlined by Benoît Revaz, the Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy: “Switzerland is fortunate to have a powerful hydroelectric infrastructure that enables it to take up the challenge of efficiently integrating intermittent energies into its energy system."

An investment to supplement new renewable energies

The CHF 331 million invested by the FMHL partners – Romande Energie (41.14%), Alpiq (39.29%), Groupe E (13.14%) and the City of Lausanne (6.43%) – demonstrate their long-term vision within an energy context that is not very favourable for hydropower. The low wholesale prices on the European power market do not reflect the value of hydroelectric energy nor the essential role played by pumped storage power stations for the security of supply. Pumped storage power stations provide control energy that is indispensable for the balancing of the electricity grid and are currently the most efficient way of storing vast quantities of electricity and feeding them back into the grid when demand is high.

Switzerland's second most powerful pumped storage power station

Ten years after the first feasibility study was initiated, the two new 120 MW pump turbine groups are now operational. They were constructed in an impressive cavern that is 100 m long, 25 m wide and 56 m high, and are controlled remotely by Alpiq's Centre d’Exploitation et de Gestion de la Production in Lausanne. The construction work was carried out without major incidents and within budget. The two new turbine groups have doubled the power station’s output from 240 MW to 480 MW (with 60 MW acting as a reserve), making the FMHL pumped storage power station the second most powerful behind the Linth-Limmern facility in the canton of Glarus. The power station is expected to generate approximately one billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of peak energy per year, equivalent to the consumption of some 300,000 households, almost twice the power generated before the construction work (520 million kWh). FMHL is inviting the public to come and explore this state-of-the-art technological achievement for themselves during the open day on Saturday, 13 May 2017.

Open day: useful information

  • Date: Saturday, 13 May 2017 from 9:00 to 17:00 hours
  • The tour takes approximately two hours
  • Starting point: In front of the Veytaux hydropower station, 500 m east of the Château de Chillon
  • Snacks can be purchased on site, one free drink included
  • Free entry to the Château de Chillon

Please come by public transport:

  • Train: "Veytaux-Chillon" rail station
  • Free shuttle buses from the Villeneuve and Montreux train stations
  • VMCV bus: No. 201 from Vevey, Montreux and Villeneuve, "Veytaux-Grandchamp" bus stop
  • CGN passenger ship: disembark in “Chillon”

FMHL media contact: Christel Varone Alpiq Ltd. - Communications T +41 21 341 22 77 E-mail: