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The plant

The Nant de Drance power plant has a capacity of 900 MW, making it one of the most powerful pumped storage plants in Europe. The power station is located 600 metres underground, between the Emosson and Vieux Emosson reservoirs, and once it's fully operational, it will be able to generate close to 2.5 billion KWh a year. The plant offers flexible power generation, playing a key role in stabilising the electricity grid throughout Europe and in safeguarding Switzerland’s power supply.

How it all works

Please activate the subtitles to see the infographics’ explanations.

 

Key figures

900

MW
the capacity of the Nant de Drance plant, which is equivalent to that of the Gösgen nuclear power plant

6


the number of Francis turbines, each with a capacity of 150 MW

2,5

billion kWh
the plant's annual production, which is equivalent to the electricity demand of the Swiss national rail service (SBB/CFF)

No. 2


Emosson Lake is currently the second-largest reservoir in Switzerland, after Grande Dixence, and its 180-metre-high dam is the country’s fifth tallest
Less than

5

minutes
the time needed for the power plant to stop pumping at full speed and start turning the turbines at full speed; and less than 10 minutes to switch from turbine mode to pump mode.
More than

80%


the plant's yield, which is currently one of the highest for a pumped storage power plant

25

million m3
the capacity of the Vieux Emosson, which is more than 6,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools

2

countries
the water in the Emosson reservoir comes from both Switzerland and France

425

m
the height of the two vertical penstocks that connect the Vieux Emosson and Emosson reservoirs – that's 100 m higher than the Eiffel Tower (324 m)

7

m
the diameter of the two penstocks

194

m
the length of the underground turbine chamber, which is equivalent to two football fields

20

hours
the time needed to empty out the Vieux Emosson reservoir, which would generate 18 GWh of electricity

17

km
the total length of the underground galleries within the Nant de Drance plant

Power house cavern

Pump turbine

Vieux Emosson dam

Overhead travelling cranes
Alternator engine
Main inlet valve
Pump turbine
Main spherical valve
Drainage channel
Ventilation
Main inlet valve
  • inner diameter: 2,100 mm
  • nominal design pressure: 65 bar
  • weight: approx. 120 t
Pump turbine
  • maximum power: 157 MW
  • max. flow rate: 60 m3/s
  • nominal speed: 428.57 rpm/min
  • wheel diameter: 3,557 mm
  • wheel weight: 18.3 t
Main spherical valve
  • inner diameter: 2,800 mm
  • nominal design pressure: 35 bar
  • weight: approx. 135 t
Draft tube
Spillway
Veudale pump station
Dam entry
Bottom outlet
Upper gallery
Middle gallery
Lower gallery
Drainage shaft
Pendulums
Access shaft
Winter access
Observation station
Frequency converters
Phase inverters
Circuit breakers
Machine control system
Cooling circuit
Draft tube