Green light for “Lago Bianco”

The goal of the “Lago Bianco” project is to build a 1,000-MW pumped storage power plant in Upper Poschiavo. With this project, Repower aims to make a contribution to energy security, grid stability and support of the new renewable energies with hydropower. These activities will simultaneously play a part in consolidating and strengthening Switzerland's role in the European transmission grid. The pumped storage power plant can use electricity generated by wind farms and photovoltaic systems, which are heavily subsidised throughout Europe, to pump water from the lower-lying Lago di Poschiavo up to the Lago Bianco located 1,200 meters higher at the Bernina Pass when there is a surplus of energy. Conversely, the plant can generate electricity at periods of peak demand and feed it into the grid. The future “Lago Bianco” power plant is thus an essential component in the intelligent use of wind and solar energy which is not always generated when consumers need it. The fact that the power plant fulfils this important function and that its environmental balance sheet is positive compared to the current status as well as to the project it replaces has meant that all of the parties involved in project development fully back the project. The intensive dialogue and the decision-making process were goal-oriented and extremely constructive, something that we would like to explicitly acknowledge here. We made great strides in project development in 2010: the concession project was submitted to the concession municipalities, Poschiavo and Pontresina, for assessment in the summer. The application was then reviewed by the municipal councils and voted on by the electorate. Before the end of the year, the residents of both municipalities voted heavily in favour of granting the concession to Repower. Parallel to the discussions with Poschiavo and Pontresina, Repower reached an agreement with the Brusio municipality to renew its concession after the existing one expires in 2020 for the lower level in Valposchiavo; this was approved in a referendum early in the new year. This will make it easier to coordinate the use of both levels in Valposchiavo.

The “Lago Bianco” project also underscores the strong roots of the Repower Group in Valposchiavo and the canton of Graubünden.