Germany's IWB buys stake in Switzerland's 900-MW Nant de Drance pumped-storage plant

German utility Industrielle Werke Basel has signed an agreement with Switzerland's Alpiq AG that will see Alpiq transfer 15% of the company's capital in the Nant de Drance SA pumped-storage plant to IWB.

The 900-MW Nant de Drance pumped-storage hydropower facility, located in Switzerland's Canton du Valais, will now be split between Alpiq (39%), Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (36%), IWB (15%), and FMV (10%).

IWB says its interest in the Nant de Drance complex stems from its development in wind farms. Since 2009, the company has invested in numerous wind plants in France and Germany, so Nant de Drance is intended to augment those sources of generation.

"Pumped-storage plants are long-term investments and play a central role in the procurement strategy of the IWB," says David Thiel, IWB chief executive officer.

The US$1.94 billion plant is expected to be phased into operation, beginning in 2017.

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