A ten-year collaboration project between Nant de Drance SA, WWF and Pro Natura has resulted in a positive assessment of the environmental compensation measures planned for the construction of the Nant de Drance pumped storage power plant in Switzerland, with 15 projects identified that will help to balance the environmental impacts of the power plant’s construction and its connection to the European electricity grid.
Since the Nant de Drance project first began, Nant de Drance SA, WWF and Pro Natura have been working closely together to minimise the environmental impact of the power plant’s development, with Nant de Drance SA investing a total of CHF 22 million in implementing the fifteen environmental measures to offset its ecological impact.
WWF and Pro Natura are part of an advisory group which also includes representatives from relevant public authorities, the canton of Valais and the Federal Office of Energy. This group discusses plans for the measures and monitors their implementation, with each participant putting forward their ideas to best serve nature’s interests.
Most of the fifteen environmental compensation measures aim to recreate specific biotopes locally, especially wetlands, in order to encourage recolonisation of the area by certain animal and plant species that are rare or endangered in Switzerland.
The fifteen environmental compensation projects are either currently underway, have already been completed or will soon be completed. For example, in Vernayaz, a 580m stretch of the Lantze Canal has undergone renaturing, and in Dorénaz, at the lower end of the Alesse stream, an aquatic environment has been recreated from two bodies of water.
Water is the main focus of the compensation measures carried out by Nant de Drance SA. However, dry agricultural areas have also been included. In Salvan, meadows and pastures have been reopened to enable people to use them and to stop them becoming wastelands.
The fifteen compensation measures are divided among the lowlands and mountains and, in addition to Vernayaz, Dorénaz and Salvan, have been or will soon be completed in the municipalities of Finhaut, Martigny, Saxon and Trient.