Switzerland to get third back-up power plant

The new contract is with an existing power plant in Monthey, canton Valais. Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

The Swiss government has signed a contract for a third back-up gas power plant to be operational from September, it said on Tuesday.

This content was published on February 21, 2023

A total of 336 megawatts of power from the reserve plants will be available for use next winter, according to a government press releaseExternal link.

The latest contract concerns the existing Thermatel plant in Monthey, canton Valais. It currently supplies 40 megawatts of power, but this will be boosted to 50 megawatts in September. This natural gas-fired power station is under contract until spring 2026, but it will only be operated in emergencies.

Faced with the current energy crisis fuelled by Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, the government has taken various steps to strengthen Switzerland’s power reserves, it says. These include hydropower reserves and reserve power stations.

+ Read about government plans to boost energy supplies

Two more agreements have already been reached for reserve power stations. A 250 MW power station is being built in Birr, canton Aargau, but it is behind schedule and will not be operational until the end of March.

In canton Neuchâtel, the Cornaux plant has been available since February 1. It has a capacity of 36 megawatts and has not yet been used.

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