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Atel plans small hydro power stations in the Olten region

Atel Hydro AG is examining options for the construction of small hydro power stations in the Olten region. The studies concern three sites, two of which are by the River Dünnern in Oensingen and Olten, and the third by the River Aare in Schönenwerd.

Studies of three sites in Oensingen, Olten and Schönenwerd

Atel Hydro AG, based in Boningen, intends to exploit water drops ("heads") in the Dünnern and Aare Rivers for electricity generation. This summer three project studies are being conducted to determine the feasibility, costs and benefits. To this end Atel Hydro is in contact with various communal and cantonal authorities.

Atel plans to make use of the water drop in the Dünnern in Outer Klus and build a small hydro power station with a capacity of around 130 kW. In Olten the Dünnern flows over a water drop or "head" in the middle of the compound belonging to Munzinger AG. The hydropower could be used to generate electricity. In Schönenwerd the Aare weir is the last relic of a power station operated by the shoe company Bally until roughly 1917. According to a project study, a small hydro power station could be built here with a capacity of around 350 kW. Atel Hydro expects the three sites to generate around 4 million kWh per year: equivalent to the average annual consumption of around 1000 households.

Talks with the relevant authorities, coupled with detailed technical analyses and profitability calculations, will provide Atel Hydro AG with a basis for deciding whether to further pursue its plans for the three hydro power stations. The time frame is still wide open. The company already operates three large hydro power stations by the River Aare in Niedergösgen, Ruppoldingen and Flumenthal.

For some time Atel has been expanding its portfolio of small hydro power stations and to this end has launched a number of related projects throughout Switzerland as well as in Italy and Norway. Since 1991 Atel has been operating a small 2-MW hydro power station on the Gotthard Pass, with an annual generation of 3 million GWh. Atel is not alone in its commitment to promoting hydro power as the most important indigenous, renewable energy source: this aim is also an integral part of Swiss federal energy policy.

Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity Corporate Communications