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Drinking water power plant in Riein in operation

Residents in the municipality of Riein near Ilanz in Graubünden and Alpiq employees involved in the project organised a small local festival to celebrate the inauguration of the Riein drinking water power plant. The weather, specialities of Riein prepared by the Fontanivas Women’s Club, and the ländler band “Muota” all contributed to the festive atmosphere.

The drinking water plant in the municipality of Riein, 1270 metres above sea level, produces green electricity for about 15 households. In order to achieve this, Alpiq and the municipality of Riein agreed to build a drinking water power plant that would be operated by Alpiq. In return for the rights to use this small hydropower plant, Alpiq had already agreed to electrify the alp. Work on the plant started in September 2008, with help from Alpiq apprentices.

For Jörg Aeberhard, head of hydraulic production at Alpiq, the joint project with the municipality of Riein makes a small but important contribution to the supply of electricity in Switzerland. Fredy Dubach, Managing Director of Alpiq InTec AG in Olten, had nothing but praise for the team’s work in his review of the project week last autumn: "All those involved were highly motivated and extremely dedicated. They worked more than a thousand hours in total.” And Thomas Zinsli, mayor of Riein, is happy because "it's fantastic for an alp to have electricity".

The drinking water power plant in Riein uses the 545 metre difference in height between the alp above the village and the reservoir. With a capacity of 15 kilowatts and an annual production volume of around 60,000 kilowatt hours, it will supply the grid with enough electricity for about 15 households. The mini power plant supplements the existing drinking water supply and provides electricity as a valuable by-product from the turbined drinking water. In return for the rights to use the drinking water power plant, Alpiq and the municipality of Riein agreed to electrify the alp. Out of respect for the vegetation and the alpine farming industry, electrification work was carried out in autumn 2008.

One-week practical training for ten Alpiq apprentices The installation work was carried out in September 2008 by Alpiq InTec AG and its subsidiary Kummler+Matter AG. The work included upgrading the supply pipes to the reservoir and to the alp, installation of a new water pump with pressurised shaft and the acquisition of the electrical installations in the alpine hut. Ten apprentices from Alpiq InTec AG also took part in the installation work, under the expert guidance of their training managers. In Riein, the apprentices were able to put theory into practice under expert tutelage, while staying at the “Sagi Riein” in the village.

Riein Alp

The municipality of Riein, with a population of around 70, is six kilometres from Ilanz. The Riein Alp, 1,855 metres above sea level, is owned by the municipality and provides grazing pasture for around 60 dairy cows and 14 pigs from mid-June until mid-September. During each grazing season, one herdsman and two employees process 41,000 litres of milk into four tonnes of cheese and 300 to 350 kg of butter.  Such quantities require an efficient and modern infrastructure.

Alpiq is committed to new renewable energies

With projects like the one in Riein, Alpiq is contributing to making more efficient use of energy and is pursuing its strategy for promoting energy from renewable sources. Through its subsidiary Alpiq EcoPower AG, Alpiq invests around CHF 200 million in existing small hydropower plants and projects for new plants and assumes its responsibility in the area of renewable energies.