16.08.2018 | Axpo and its hydropower plants - Who recognises our assets?

Connected as a partner

Axpo has a large hydropower plant portfolio in Switzerland and has a 100-per cent share in some of them. Most of them, however, are partner plants. Many of these hydraulic plants have been organised in power plant groups. What does that mean? Find the explanations here - and participate in a quiz to boot.

Some 60 per cent the electricity produced in Switzerland comes from hydropower. A good thing because this is reliable, domestic production, and practically CO2-free, as well as storable and renewable. Switzerland is the leader - only Norway, Austria and Island have a larger hydropower proportion. As the largest Swiss producer of hydropower, Axpo makes a significant contribution to this leading position.

Today, Axpo is the owner or joint-owner some 60 hydropower plants in Switzerland. Most of the plants are organised as so-called partner plants. Partner plants?

Numerous hydropower plants were built in Switzerland and the Alps during the fifties and sixties. Power producers, the cantons and the local communities often joined forces in order to minimise the high construction costs and risks for larger plants, and to distribute the investments among various partners.

Who recognises the Axpo hydropower plants?

Our power supply assets are distributed all over Switzerland. Here is a map showing where Axpo is at home and where its pump, storage, run-of-river and small hydropower plants are located. And here's a photo series of the Axpo reservoirs, dams and power plants. Which ones are they? Go for it!

KHR as example

Let's take an example from the Canton of Grisons. Kraftwerke Hinterrhein AG (KHR) operates a partner plant that is owned by several shareholders: Axpo (19.5 %), the city of Zurich (19.5 %), the Canton of Grisons (12 %), Alpiq (9.28 %), BKW (7.72 %), Repower (6.5 %), the concessionary municipalities (3 %), IWB (2.50%), as well as the Italian Edison S.p.A. (20 %).

These partners carry KHR's investment and production costs based on their shareholdings and in return receive a proportionate volume of produced electrical energy that they can market and sell in their distribution regions.

Grouped power plants

In the Swiss mountains many power plants have been arranged in so-called power plant groups and are connected hydraulically. In this way, the water can be used several times by a cascade of power plants and water reservoirs. The individual power plants must be optimally coordinated in terms of energy efficiency. A downstream power plant must be able to use the water inflow from the higher plant immediately or store the water in a compensating or storage reservoir. As a rule, the power plants are connected by means of pressure pipes and tunnels.

See how that works in the example of Kraftwerke Zervreila (KWZ) in which Axpo holds a 22-per cent interest:

1. Dam Zervreila; 2. Power station and Equalizing reservoir Zervreila; 3. Schütze Peilertal: 4. Equalizing reservoir Wanna; 5. Power station Safien Platz; 6. Equalizing reservoir Safien Platz; 7. Power station Rothenbrunnen; 8. Equalizing reservoir Egschi; 9. Power station Realta
Map and graphic: KWZ

More details can be found here. German only 

36,666 GWh of hydro-electricity

According to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, a total of 1350 hydropower plants in Switzerland produced 36,666 GWh of electricity in 2017. On the average, 48 per cent of this electricity comes from storage power plants, 47.6 per cent from run-of-river power plants and about 4.4 per cent from pumped storage power plants. Around 63 per cent of this energy is generated in the mountain cantons of Uri, Grisons, Ticino and Valais.

More about Axpo hydro power can be found in this video:

More articles for you

Show all


Hydrone propels pilot expertise sky-high

Aerial efficiency: monitoring power plants and the grid using drones

Read more

Energy market

Weather and politics strong drivers of energy markets

European Energy Markets Monthly, July 2024

Read more


Pigniu reservoir: the first-ever removal of deposited sediments via flushing

The Pigniu reservoir of Kraftwerke Ilanz AG was temporarily completely emptied

Read more

Energy regulations

Additional regulation for electricity companies with ‘systemic importance’?

In the wake of the energy crisis, the Federal Council has presented a draft for the regulation of electricity companies with ‘systemic importance.’

Read more