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Alpiq completes its first wind farm in Switzerland

Alpiq began construction of its first wind farm in Switzerland in May 2010. The facility is located in the village of Le Peuchapatte, in the municipality of Muriaux, canton Jura. The three wind turbines are almost completed, and the wind farm is scheduled to start feeding electricity into the grid from December.

Since May 2010, Alpiq has been engaged through its subsidiary Eole Jura SA in building the Le Peuchapatte wind farm at an altitude of 1,200 meters in the Jura municipality of Muriaux. Construction has run according to schedule and will shortly be completed. With its first wind farm in Switzerland, Alpiq is expanding its commitment to new renewable energies.

Le Peuchapatte will supply 4,000 households with electricity The three 108.5 meter-high Enercon E-82 wind turbines embody state-of-the-art technology. They operate quietly and are designed to last 20 to 25 years. With a collective capacity of 6.9 Megawatts, they will generate around 14 million Kilowatt hours per year: equivalent to the annual consumption of around 4,000 households.

Heavy loads transported to the construction site by boat and truck Eole Jura SA was granted the permit for Le Peuchapatte on 9 April 2010, and the preparations started in May. Once the excavations had been completed and the foundations had been laid in June, the concrete lower sections of the masts were installed in August. German manufacturer Enercon shipped the majority of the individual wind farm parts by sea. In August and September, three ships transported the mast parts, rotors and generators from northern Germany to Basle's Rhine port, from where several trucks conveyed the heavy load to Muriaux. Only the rotor blades were transported to the Jura heights by truck alone. The masts took shape in August and September, but the crane in use was no longer suitable for work at elevations above 80 meters. So another special crane was brought in to provide access to the mast tip at 108.5 meters. At 135 meters high, the crane is the largest available in Switzerland.    The challenge of wind and weather The first wind turbine was erected on 28 September, while the second and third are scheduled for completion by mid-October. Despite a tight schedule, the project suffered no delays. "We are pleased that so far we have remained on schedule," says Alpiq Project Manager Guillaume Gros. "Because there are lots of factors, particularly the weather and wind, that could delay work." The month-long functional tests are scheduled to start at the end of October. If everything continues to go to plan, Le Peuchapatte wind farm will start feeding electricity into the grid at the end of this year.