A water battery capable of storing electricity equivalent to 400,000 electric car batteries will start operating in Switzerland next week.
It can store and generate huge quantities of hydroelectric energy. The battery will significantly stabilize power supplies in Switzerland and Europe.
A water battery or pumped storage power plant is a type of hydroelectric energy storage. The battery is made from two large pools of water located at different heights.
It can store excess electricity by pumping water from the lower pool up to the higher pool, effectively “charging” the battery. When electricity is needed, the direction of the water is reversed. The flow of water rotates a turbine which generates hydroelectric power.
The Swiss power plant, constructed by the company Nant de Drance, will start working on July 1st. The plant has six pump turbines and a total power output of 900 MW, enough to power as many as 900,000 homes.
During periods of high demand, like during heatwaves, the battery can cut down the probability of a grid overload. The battery is located 600 meters underground between the reservoirs of Emosson and Vieux Emosson in Valais.
These tunnels allowed for the transportation of building materials and prefabricated buildings into the mountain. Between 2012 and 2016, the height of the Vieux Emosson dam was increased by 20 meters to allow the reservoirs to store more water and create more energy.