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Nant de Drance : First tests in sight

The construction of the Nant de Drance (VS) pumped storage power plant is on track. The tests for the first hydroelectric power plant will begin at the end of 2018 and it will be fully operational in the fall of 2019. The full development will be operational in 2020. With 900 megawatts (MW) and The Nant de Drance plant is extremely flexible and perfectly adapted to the new energy context and will be an essential instrument for the stability of the Swiss and European electricity grid.

The construction of the plant is progressing well. Currently, work is concentrated in the machine cavern where the six pump-turbines, each with a capacity of 150 MW, are being assembled. An important first step will be taken by the end of 2018 with the completion of the first pump-turbine. Nant de Drance will then proceed to the tests. The commissioning of this first group will begin gradually in the spring of 2019 and will last approximately six months. The remaining five pump-turbines will be commissioned in a staggered manner and all machines will be operational in the summer of 2020. From then on, the pumped-storage plant will produce and store energy on a regular basis. Nant de Drance is already actively preparing the operation of the future plant. The Project Management has been strengthened so that the transition between the construction and operation phase takes place under optimal conditions.

Forward-looking power plant The shareholders of Nant de Drance Ltd - Alpiq (39%), SBB (36%), IWB (15%) and FMV (10%) - invest nearly CHF 2 billion in construction of the pumped storage power plant. This investment is part of a long-term vision and a desire to meet the challenges of the electricity supply of the future. With a total capacity of 900 MW, the six pumped storage units in Nant de Drance will, depending on the needs, produce or store large amounts of energy in a very short time. This great flexibility will be decisive in a context where electricity generation is increasingly volatile due to the development of new renewable energies. The tuning energy provided by Nant de Drance will balance the production and consumption of electricity. The pumped storage power plant will thus be an important resource for ensuring the stability of the electricity grid on a European scale and contributing to the security of supply in Switzerland.

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