ABB (NYSE:ABB), the leading power and automation technology group, has received orders worth around $20 million from two power utilities managed by Axpo, a leading Swiss power utility, to refurbish the generators at two of its hydroelectric power plants. The plants are located in the picturesque and mountainous canton of Wallis (Valais) in southern Switzerland, bordering France and Italy. The Mattmark and Mauvoisin power plants are capable of generating 680 megawatts (MW) of electricity and represent around 15 percent of the canton’s installed power generation capacity. The orders were booked in the first quarter.
"The upgrade and refurbishment of these hydropower plants will help increase availability of power supplies and enhance efficiency and reliability” said Franz-Josef Mengede, head of ABB’s Power Generation business within the company’s Power Systems division. "This project is another example of our increased focus on service as a strategic growth driver and leveraging of renewables and energy efficiency as key contributors in minimizing environmental impact."
Hydropower is one of the cleanest, most economical and easily controlled methods of renewable power generation. It’s ‘pumped storage’ application as a reserve to manage demand peaks is an environmentally attractive solution particularly in combination with less reliable and intermittent renewable resources such as wind energy.
ABB has a track record of over 125 years in the hydropower sector with a complete range of power and automation products, systems and services. This includes integrated instrumentation control and electrical (ICE) packages, plant automation solutions and a wide portfolio of products from generator circuit breakers and power transformers to switchgear, motors and drives.
ABB is already executing a $120 million order to provide turnkey electrical, automation and control solutions for the Linth-Limmern high–capacity, pumped-storage hydropower station being installed in an underground cavern in the Linthal valley, located in the canton of Glarus, in eastern Switzerland.
Switzerland is among the countries with the highest share of CO2-free energies in electricity generation, (~98.5 percent) and hydropower is the largest contributor (~55 percent). Electricity consumption in Switzerland, as in many other parts of the world, is rising with population, economic growth and the increasing number of computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices being deployed. Climate change mitigation is another factor behind the growing demand for electricity, a preferred and cleaner source of energy in the effort to reduce the use of fossil fuels.