A water battery for saving! Swiss initiative to prevent electricity shortages
A water battery capable of storing electricity will start operating in Switzerland next week.
The pumped storage power plant was built in an underground cave in the Swiss canton of Valais.
With the ability to store and generate large amounts of hydroelectric energy, the battery will play an important role in stabilizing the power supply in Switzerland and Europe.
What is a water battery?
A water battery is a type of hydroelectric energy storage. The battery is made up of two large water pools located at different heights.
It can conserve excess energy by pumping water from the bottom pool to the top pool.
When electricity is needed, the direction of the water changes. The water flow rotates a turbine which generates hydroelectric energy.
Why did Switzerland build a large water battery?
The Swiss power plant, built by the company Nant de Drance, will be put into operation on July 1.
The plant has six pump turbines and a total power of 900 MW, enough to supply up to 900,000 homes.
With a storage capacity of 20 million kWh of electricity, it is hoped that the water battery will play an important role in stabilizing the power grids of Switzerland and Europe.
Engineering challenges of building a water battery
The battery is located 600 meters underground between the Emosson and Vieux Emosson reservoirs in Valais.
It took 14 years to complete due to significant logistical and engineering challenges. To build the plant, 18 kilometers of tunnels through the Alps had to be opened.
These tunnels enabled the transport of building materials and prefabricated buildings on the mountain.
At the heart of the plant is the large engine room measuring nearly 200 meters long and 32 meters wide.
Between 2012 and 2016, the height of the Vieux Emosson dam increased by 20 meters to allow reservoirs to store more water and generate more energy.