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Mattmark Hydro Power Plant

– Location: Mattmark, Saas-Almagell/Wallis/Switserland, 2197 m above sea level. Power is mainly generated down the valley in Stalden at 715 m.
– Capacity: 77,500,000 m3 or 254.5 GWh (the energy content of the lake is worth ca. 51 million euro/66 million $ consumer electricity, consumer endprice assumed to be 20 euro cent per kwh). Or alternatively: the lake energy content represents the equivalent of one million man year of hard physical labour, assuming one man day = one kwh (in reality it is less). Adding a non-working woman and two children to the equation to replace the worker after two generations, the energy stored in this lake represents the labour equivalent of a nation like Denmark. In other words: it would take one million Danish men one year of carrying water from Stalden (715 M) to Mattmark (2197 m) in order to fill an empty lake. Come to think of it, we doubt if a Dane is able to lift 77.5 mm3 over 1200 m in a years time. Assuming three climbs per day of 33 liter each makes 0.1 mm3 per day or 775 days non-stop working for 77.5 m3. Swap Denmark for Sweden and you have the real picture: this relatively small power plant generates as much energy as all adult Swedish males combined can produce by muscle power. Figures likes these make it clear why energy can no longer be taken for granted and that real wealth is represented by kwh and not paper money. The Gordon Gekko’s of the future will be those who understand the true meaning of the Mattmark hydro power plant in particular and energy in general rather than money and interest.
– Power: 130.3 MW, both in Stalden and Zermeiggern (Saas-Almagell), fully integrated in pan-European network. Yearly production 665 GWh, meaning that per year slightly more than twice the content of the lake is converted into electrical energy. A mini-reservoir in Zermeiggern is used to store energy by pumping water upwards to the Mattmark lake at times of low demand. The dam was built between 1960-1965, but was interrupted for two years because of the largest accident in Swiss building history, as 88 men were killed after a piece of a gletscher broke off.

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Pictures from holiday trip to Mattmark:



Map showing the three elements in the entire setup: 1) Mattmark dam + reservoir (2197 m) 2) Zermeiggern small power station + pump station + mini reservoir 3) main power plant in Stalden (715 m)

Picture from Google Earth function within Google Maps. Here the main reservoir (bottom picture) and smaller, lower situated secondary reservoir (top of the picture). For generating electricity water is released from the large reservoir. In times of excess electricity water is pumped up from the secondary reservoir into the large reservoir.


Click on google icon bottom left to get the full picture.


Mattmark reservoir seen from a distance.


View on the Mattmark dam from Saas-Almagell.


View on the Mattmark dam from Saas-Almagell.


Francis turbine at the smaller power plant/pump station in Zermeiggern/Saas-Almagell.


Valve to control water flow (Zermeiggern/Saas-Almagell).


Spare Francis turbine blades.


Mini reservoir at the Zermeiggern power plant, used to pump water back to the lake again at times of low electricity demand.


Road from Saas-Almagell via Zermeiggern to the Mattmark dam.


View of the dam towards the west.


View towards the south-west, standing on the eastern edge of the dam.


View of the dam towards the east (Italian border).


View towards the south, while standing on the western edge of the dam.

[source]

The water leaves the tunnel in the mountains at Stalden probably here.

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