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Flexible hydropower stepped in for nuclear power

In the night of 2/3 September 2016, within just a few minutes, Alpiq compensated the outage of generation at the Gösgen nuclear power station (KKG) by activating the turbines at four hydroelectric power stations. An impressive example for the flexibility of hydropower.

At one minute before midnight, when the Gösgen nuclear power station interrupted its electricity generation due to an erroneous activation of the turbine protection system, the dispatchers at Alpiq’s Centre d’Exploitation de Gestion de la Production (CEG-P) responded immediately and compensated the output of approximately 1,000 MW by putting several storage power stations into operation. The team in Lausanne, which operates on a 24/7 basis, controls various hydroelectric power stations and monitors facilities that have their own management centres. The system functioned flawlessly: Within just a few minutes, the CEG-P activated 1,000 MW of power at four hydropower stations and was thereby able to compensate for the outage of the KKG, which was able to resume its generation four hours later.

The backup electricity for the KKG was generated by the following power stations: Cleuson-Dixence (Bieudron, 400 MW), Forces Motrices Hongrin-Léman (Veytaux, 240 MW), Electra-Massa (Bitsch, 110 MW) and Officine Idroelettriche della Maggia (250 MW). Thanks to the unique flexibility of the hydroelectric power stations, Alpiq was able to compensate the sudden interruption in generation within minutes.