Expansion project successfully completed: Tschar power plant now twice as efficient

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28.06.2017 - In the course of the two-year expansion and optimisation project by Kraftwerk Tschar AG, the machines at the Tavanasa and St. Joseph control centres recently took up normal operation. The expansion and optimisation project included the renovation of the Tavanasa-Obersaxen power station that has been in operation since 1946, as well as the increase of the discharge current and the construction of an additional upper stage. Investments in the project amounted to about CHF 46 million.

The optimised Tschar power plant, which utilises the water from the Tscharbach and St. Petersbach in Surselva, is an impressive example of how important hydropower as an electricity source from domestic renewable energy will be in the future. With a total installed capacity of 14.2 MW, the plant can now generate up to net 35.5 GWh of electricity per year. This is approximately double the power volume that the Tavanasa-Obersaxen plant previously generated and covers the needs for some 9,000 households in the Canton of Grisons.

Ground breaking for the optimisation project took place at the end of April 2015. The project included the expansion of the existing power plant stage at Tavanasa-Obersaxen, as well as the new construction of an additional upper stage to enable the repeated use of the Tscharbach. Both stages will now be operated as high-pressure run-of-river power plants. During expansion of the existing lower stage, the pressure conduit was replaced and enlarged, and the existing plant components were repaired and adapted. Work at the upper stage included a water catchment with a regulation basin in the Tscharbach below the Lumbrein bridge, an underground pressure conduit on the right bank, as well as a new control centre at St. Joseph above the existing surge chamber of the lower stage.

Late snowmelt delayed commissioning programme

Thanks to favourable weather conditions, work over the past two years proceeded on schedule. In the beginning of 2017, installation of the machines at the upper and lower stages was completed and various, staggered dry and wet runs were carried out under a complex commissioning programme.

Ultimately only the melt water was missing for actual operation: When the snow began melting at higher altitudes, further milestones were reached in the past three months so that after a construction period of about two years and successfully completed test operation, the plant was able to take up operation for the first time. In the upcoming days, additional fine-tuning will take place before the Tschar power plant is in 100% operation producing eco-friendly power for the region.

Kraftwerk Tschar AG was founded in January 2014. The shareholders are Axpo Hydro Surselva AG (AHS) with 51 per cent, the town of Obersaxen with 22.9 per cent, the town of Breil/Brigels with 10.4 per cent, the town of Waltensburg/Vuorz with 0.7 per cent, as well as the Canton of Grisons with 15 per cent. AHS is responsible for the operation of the optimised power plant.

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