Axpo has announced that the extensive renovation work at the Gigerwald dam in the Taminatal in St. Gallen's canton, Switzerland, is to be postponed for two years, due to to the imminent power shortage expected in the upcoming winter.
Although the work is critical for the long-term operation of the plant, owing the extreme energy situation the priority will be placed on ensuring the production of up to 160 GWh of energy from the water in the reservoir and recirculation operation, the company said.
The Gigerwald dam is part of Kraftwerke Sarganserland AG (KSL), in which Axpo holds a share of 98.5%. The installation was scheduled for extensive renovation this winter and would have required the full drainage of the reservoir. Construction preparations that began in the spring of 2022 have been suspended immediately and renovation work has been postponed until the winter of 2024/25.
"The danger of a power shortage in the upcoming winter has intensified over the last few weeks,” explained Christoph Brand, Axpo CEO. “As a result we have decided to suspend work immediately in order to save every possible kilowatt-hour that can be produced from the reservoir and ensure recirculation operation during the winter months. In doing so, we want to continue boosting our contribution to the security of supply in next winter.”.
Construction work can only take place during the winter because there is less water flow has to be diverted through the construction site. The Gigerwald reservoir will be fully drained in the winter of 2024/25 to ensure that renovation work can be carried out smoothly. The plant is expected to go back into operation in early summer of 2025.
Image of Gigerwald reservoir by Thomas Giger