Construction work has begun on the 1.9MW Hüscherabach hydropower plant in the Splügen region in the Swiss canton of Grisons, with the project set to replace an old plant built in the 1930s.
Alpiq and the municipality of Rheinwald are collaborating to build the plant in a project that will last around 18 months. The new power plant will increase the production of renewable, domestic energy by a factor of almost six. Energy generation will increase from 1.1 million kWh to around 6.1 million kWh per annum, which corresponds to the average annual consumption of approximately 1,500 households.
The small hydropower plant with a high head of water will use the Hüscherabach stream, which flows into the Hinterrhein river near Splügen. The high-pressure plant consists of a water catchment, a 2240m penstock and a power station housing a Pelton turbine.
A number of measures are being implemented to reduce the environmental impact of the plant. Among other things, they address the protection of fish at the water intake and the safeguarding of a dynamic flow of residual water in the stream. The Hüscherabach project will also contribute to a comprehensive ecological compensation scheme for the revitalisation of the Hinterrhein river where it flows through the municipality of Rheinwald. This project is currently in the development phase and is scheduled for implementation over the next few years.
Alpiq and the municipality of Rheinwald are investing approximately CHF 10 million in the construction of the small hydropower plant. The two partners own 60 and 40% respectively of Wasserkraftwerk Hüscherabach AG. The project has been granted support from the Swiss federal investment incentive programme for the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources.
Alpiq and the municipality of Rheinwald are long-standing partners and have been jointly operating the Tambobach small hydropower plant in Splügen since 2012.