Axpo puts hydropower plant into operation deep in the Grisons mountains


The 2.5-megawatt Curnera hydropower plant of Kraftwerke Vorderrhein AG (KVR) is located 250 metres inside the mountains and utilises the height difference of an existing water transfer system. The power plant produces clean electricity for the equivalent of 2,200 average four-person households.

The Curnera small hydropower plant is located in an existing water transfer system between the two reservoirs Curnera and Nalps. So far, this system has only been used to transfer water and not for electricity production. The newly installed Francis turbine with an output of 2.5 megawatts produces up to 10 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity per year – this equates to the annual consumption of 2,200 average four-person households. The construction costs for the Curnera power plant amounted to around 3 million Swiss francs.

‘This investment into the Curnera small hydropower plant reinforces Axpo’s commitment to renewable energy in Switzerland,’ says Jörg Huwyler, Head of the Hydroenergy and Biomass Division at Axpo. ‘In the economically challenging environment of Swiss hydropower, projects such as this one help to advance the currently sluggish expansion – however, the potential for such plants is limited.’

Due to the Alpine terrain, the specialists at Axpo required a construction ropeway to transport the components to the access tunnel. This ropeway has now already been dismantled. Thanks to excellent cooperation with the companies involved, construction work on the power plant was completed on schedule in late December 2021.

Kraftwerke Vorderrhein AG, based in Disentis/Mustér, is a partner plant of the Grisons canton (10%), the concession-granting municipalities (8.5%) and Axpo (81.5%).

About Axpo

Axpo is driven by a single purpose – to enable a sustainable future through innovative energy solutions. As Switzerland's largest producer of renewable energy and an international leader in energy trading and the marketing of solar and wind power, Axpo combines the experience and expertise of more than 5,000 employees who are driven by a passion for innovation, collaboration and impactful change. Using cutting-edge technologies, Axpo innovates to meet the evolving needs of its customers in over 30 countries across Europe, North America and Asia.

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