Swiss-German utility brings new 100-MW Rheinfelden hydro on line

RHEINFELDEN, Germany 9/29/11 (PennWell) -- Swiss-German hydropower utility Energiedienst Holding AG (EDH) began formal operations of the new 100-MW Rheinfelden hydroelectric project in ceremonies September 15 on the Rhine River dividing Germany from Switzerland.

Labeled Germany's biggest onshore renewable energy plant, new Rheinfelden replaced the 100-year-old, 25.7-MW Rheinfelden project at a cost of 400 million euros (US$510.4 million). The new plant is to more than triple generation to more than 600 million kWh per year compared with the previous 185 million kWh.

Minister President Winfried Kretschmann of Germany's Baden Wuerttemberg State led the list of community and hydro industry participants in the opening ceremony.

Chairman Roland Muench of hydro equipment supplier Voith Hydro expressed the company's pride in the project, which was completed ahead of schedule.

"It has been quite some time that the German market has seen a run-of-river power plant in this magnitude," Muench said. "We are particularly proud of the fact that our turbines actually exceed the contractually guaranteed efficiency."

Voith supplied Rheinfelden's four 25-MW Kaplan bulb turbines and a separate minimum flow turbine. A consortium of Voith and Alstom Hydro (Switzerland) AG received a contract from EDH, an affiliate of German utility EnBW, in 2006 to supply turbines and generators for the project.

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