Voltalia, an international player in renewable energies, announces that production has started at its 4.5 MW run-of-the-river hydropower plant on the Taconnaz torrent in the Haute-Savoie department (France). It benefits from a 20-year contract signed with the Régie Électrique des Houches.
"Small run-of-the-river hydropower has numerous advantages. This energy comes without greenhouse gas emissions, has a long lifetime and a minimal visual impact, thanks to the absence of a dam. The Taconnaz power plant is a great success in this field for Voltalia, which also won the challenge of building a plant in a mountain area, a first for the Group. We are pursuing the development of two other hydropower projects in Savoie and Haute-Savoie, to be launched by 2022" says Sebastien Clerc, CEO of Voltalia.
After one year and three months of construction work at the foot of the Taconnaz glacier in Haute-Savoie, the Voltalia hydropower plant has produced its first kilowatt hours. Its final commissioning comes before the winter season and will allow the plant to produce at full capacity in spring, as ice melts naturally.
This first hydropower plant in metropolitan France for Voltalia is exemplary in many ways.
The production of the Taconnaz power plant will thus ensure the power consumption of 10,400 inhabitants, equivalent to 90% of the combined population of Chamonix and Les Houches, the two municipalities on which it is established.
Since these two municipalities are shareholders of the project with a 33% total stake, this reflects the convergence of interests of Voltalia and local authorities. The value created will be shared, in the form of dividends. The Taconnaz power plant helps the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Valley to reach its target of a minimum of 20% renewable energy in its final energy consumption by 2020.
At a time when most of the European glaciers are melting under the effect of global warming, it is precisely at the foot of a glacier and using the driving force of one of its torrents that this power station was born, replacing other more polluting sources of electricity.
For this project, Voltalia worked with well-reputed local players, including the civil works company Benedetti-Guelpa and Girus engineering consultants. The construction works regarding the plant itself were carried out by Serhy. Voltalia also favored French manufacturing when choosing equipment, with HPP for the turbine and Leroy-Somer for the alternator.
Building on this first success, Voltalia is continuing its development in the French small hydropower market, with two power plant projects in Savoie and Haute-Savoie, to be started by 2022.