Underground ‘Water Battery’ in Switzerland to Power 900K Homes
Europe’s one of the major renewable energy sources is up and running underneath the Swiss Alps
To reduce the carbon emissions and toxic gas fumes in the environment, a gigantic underground ‘Water Battery’ plant has been set up in Valais, Switzerland. This megawatt (MW) Nant de Drance pumped storage power plant started operating in July after 14 years of complicated testing and construction phases.
Situated 600 meters underneath the Swiss Alps, this €2 billion project is capable of storing as much energy as generated from 400,000 electric car batteries. Thanks to its 20 million kWh capacity, this massive energy storage plant is capable of powering up to 900,000 homes. Hence, it will be one of the major renewable energy sources in entire Europe.
Since this water battery uses only renewable sources to generate green energy, it will help stabilize the electricity grid while decreasing dependency on fossil fuels. This water-pumped storage plant is like a hydroelectric energy storage system.
It utilizes two large pools of water at distinct heights. The system can store the excess electricity with constant water pumping from the lower pool and up to the higher one. This is how it effectively charges the battery. When electricity is required, the officials just have to reverse the water direction. The water flow rotates the turbine that further produces hydroelectric power.
Around 18 km of tunnels were dug through the Alps to manufacture this plant. Now, the Nant de Drance hydro batteries are useful to store excessive energy generated via intermittent power sources, like solar, wind, and nuclear. There are six pump turbines to forward water from its lower reservoir to the upper one.
The best part about the Nant de Drance is that this gigantic battery enables you to instantly store excessive electricity on the grid, and it can produce more energy whenever there is more demand. Due to massive storage capacity, the government is hoping that this water battery will help stabilize Europe and Switzerland’s energy grids. The high demands during heatwaves can also be fulfilled through this plant, helping decrease the grid overload.