EDF to begin work on 94MW hydropower plant in 2010

RHONE-ALPES, FRANCE - Electricite de France (EDF) is continuing with plans to build a 94-megawatt (MW) underground hydropower plant on the Romanche River near Gavet village in the Rhone-Alpes region of France.

The company has a bid open for civil engineering work, and a compulsory public survey is being carried out to obtain permits. A tender is expected to be launched in late 2009 for the construction of a 9-kilometer penstock and a cave.

The plant, which EDF designed, will be equipped with two 47-MW vertical Francis hydraulic turbines.

An equipment supplier will be selected by early 2010, when construction is projected to kick off.

The estimated $320 million project is expected to be complete 2013, replacing six smaller power stations in the area, representing about 80 MW, that will be dismantled in the coming years.

EDF operates the most powerful hydroelectric power stations in the country. Other companies in hydropower production in the region include Compagnie du Rhone of the Suez Group, which is in charge of the exploitation of the plants on the Rhone River. However, competition in the market is expected to grow, with an increased participation expected from the Suez Group and independent power producer Power in the next few years, after operations licenses are renewed and opened for new companies.

Hydroelectricity is the most developed renewable energy source in France, and the second source of power in the country after nuclear power, representing about 12% of the total electricity produced in the country.


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