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Hydro Power

GE Renewable Energy to refurbish synchronous generators at Bitsch hydropower plant in Switzerland

  • GE Hydro Solutions to rehabilitate two vertical hydro synchronous generators at the power station Bitsch in Switzerland
  • Once refurbished, the lifetime of the units will be extended for sixty years
  • New generators will help ensure the highest level of reliability and flexibility

Paris, March 16, 2022 - GE Hydro Solutions has signed a service contract with HYDRO Exploitation SA, acting on behalf of the asset owner Electra-Massa SA, to refurbish two 120 MVA vertical synchronous generators at the Bitsch power plant station in Wallis, Switzerland. The main objectives of the generators’ refurbishment are to extend the lifetime of the plant for several decades and increase the performance as well as reliability of the power station. In addition, Electra-Massa SA aims to maintain the plant fully operational until and after the concession expires in 2048.

The 340 MW hydropower plant will be equipped with two new state-of-the-art generators tailored to meet the customer's specific operational needs. They will replace the previous equipment which reached the end of its life. Consequently, the hydropower plant Bitsch will benefit from more flexible generators that will improve the power plant’s overall efficiency.

HYDRO Exploitation SA, that operates the plant for Electra-Massa SA, will act as the project owner’s representative. Together with GE Hydro Solutions, the three partners are committed to deliver the highest engineering and design quality, to ensure continuity of operation, and to organize project integration and management. As the sixth largest hydropower plant in Switzerland, the hydropower plant Bitsch plays a major role in the Swiss energy supply. This upgrade of the power plant capacity underlines the role of hydropower as the major source of renewable energy in Switzerland.

Pascal Radue, President and CEO of GE’s Hydro Solutions said, “We are delighted to support Electra-Massa SA in their efforts to produce sustainable electricity with a higher level of reliability to meet local demand. We appreciate their confidence and will work to ensure that the customized design of the future generators will help improve the performance of the power station. Most importantly, Electra-Massa SA will be able to produce sustainable electricity with a higher flexibility to meet the local demand. We are proud to be part of this project which confirms the critical role of hydropower in the Switzerland's energy production.”

GE Hydro Solutions will be responsible for the design studies, the engineering, the manufacturing and the delivery of the two generators. Once the generators are delivered, GE Hydro Solutions will be in charge of the erection and the commissioning of the new equipment.

The first modernized Bitsch unit is expected to be commissioned in August 2024, and the last one is expected to come online in 2025.


About the Bitsch Hydropower plant
Commissioned in 1969, the Gebidem dam in Switzerland, impounds the water of the Aletsch glacier, one of the largest in the Alps. At a depth of 750 metres, the hydropower station in Bitsch uses the water to generate electricity. The plant consists of three Pelton turbines and has a total capacity of 340 MW. The plant can produce an average annual output of up to 564 GWh per year.

About GE Renewable Energy
GE Renewable Energy is a $16 billion business which combines one of the broadest portfolios in the renewable energy industry to provide end-to-end solutions for our customers demanding reliable and affordable green power. Combining onshore and offshore wind, blades, hydro, storage, utility-scale solar, and grid solutions as well as hybrid renewables and digital services offerings, GE Renewable Energy has installed more than 400+ gigawatts of clean renewable energy and equipped more than 90 percent of utilities worldwide with its grid solutions. With nearly 40,000 employees present in more than 80 countries, GE Renewable Energy creates value for customers seeking to power the world with affordable, reliable and sustainable green electrons.
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Bitsch Hydropower plant
Image credit: GE Renewable Energy
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Bitsch Hydropower plant
Image credit: GE Renewable Energy
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Waldemar Oldenburger
GE Renewable Energy | Communications, Hydro Solutions
+49 172 631 22 34