The coronavirus crisis paralysed Switzerland in the first half of 2020, and has left its mark on almost all sectors of the economy. Conditions on the market had considerable consequences, with the energy industry also finding itself in an exceptional situation. Despite major distortions in the market, in the first half of 2020 Repower posted good or even very good results in all areas of its business. With operating income (EBIT) of CHF 18 million, Repower Switzerland fell slightly below the figure for the first six months of 2019 (CHF 20 million).
On the electricity generation side Repower likewise recorded very positive results in the first half of 2020, generating 344 GWh of electricity, around 20% higher than in the prior-year period. Hydropower interests yielded 362 GWh (up 29% on the first half of 2019), while nuclear power interests resulted in 130 GWh (up 18% on the first half of 2019). Overall, the volume of electricity generated was up around 15% on the first six months of 2019.
During the lockdown the top priority was safeguarding staff and maintaining business continuity. Thanks to the infrastructure already available we were able to switch to home office arrangements very quickly. The necessary measures to safeguard staff on construction sites were also taken immediately. Repower’s response to the cancellation of planned customer events – at least those of a technical nature – was to offer webinars. These online events aroused a great deal of interest. Ten webinars were held in the first half year, with the best response to one on the subject of SMARTPOWER, Repower’s total forward-looking energy management package, which attracted 53 participants.
At the end of June 2020, somewhat later than planned, work began on the complete renovation of the Robbia power plant. This project, the biggest investment in modernisation in the history of the company, will run for the next three years, with the plant due to be practically completely rebuilt from water catchments to discharge. The work will assure the reliable generation of 100% renewable, home-produced hydropower in the Valposchiavo. The renovated asset is due to go into operation at the end of 2023.
The total renovation of the Robbia power plant has been occupying the attention of the Service Provision division for several months now. Given the sheer scale of the planned work on its own equipment, Repower will be very busy in the months to come. Despite this, the focus is still on contracts for third parties, whose planning and delivery is given high priority. Ongoing projects such as work to expand the Pradella switching station and the one-stop Mendrisio contract are on track. In Pradella the new switchgear control system has been delivered and installed. The entire work should be complete by the end of 2022. In Mendrisio the commissioning work for the first substation for Aziende Industriali Mendrisio is proceeding according to plan, and the substation will be handed over to the AIM at the end of August 2020. The entire project will be completed by the end of 2021.
At the beginning of the year Repower took over a 25-kilometre-long power line in the Surselva between Laax and Trun from Axpo Hydro Surselva. Merging parallel grid structures makes operation, maintenance and investment in the grid assets more efficient and cost effective. The project will also enhance grid capacity and security of supply in the entire region. In addition, Repower reached an agreement with the municipality of Laax on the construction of a new cable line and the dismantling of the existing overhead lines in the village.
Renovation of the Madulain power plant is proceeding according to plan. It is scheduled to go into operation in August 2020.
The first half of the year also saw commencement of work to plan the replacement and modernisation of the 150 kV overhead line between Champfèr and Silvaplana, which also involves replacing the 60 kV cable line and the 16 kV overhead line in the same area. The new joint cable line will run underground. The project will probably be completed in early 2021.
In line with its partner strategy, Repower has joined forces with another six energy utilities to establish EVUlution AG. The goal is to provide forward-looking solutions on the basis of innovative products and services, drive the energy transition ahead, and thus be equipped for the complex energy supply requirements of the future. With an interest of 42.75%, Repower holds the largest stake in EVUlution AG.
PLUG’N ROLL, Repower’s full-service provider of electric mobility solutions, notched up further successes in the first half of 2020. For example, in May the Valposchiavo area’s first rapid charging station – an ABB Terra 54 supplied by PLUG’N ROLL – was installed at Garage Battaglia SA in Le Prese. Now Valposchiavo also has a PLUG’N ROLL point where electric vehicles can charge up with certified H2O Valposchiavo in only a matter of minutes. The new charging station, like 20 other public and semipublic charging points in the area, is integrated in the PLUG’N ROLL network. Now the PLUG’N ROLL app, the E-DRIVER CARD or the SwissPass can be used to charge with naturemade star-quality green power at any public charging point in Europe. Until June 2020 this was only possible at PLUG’N ROLL stations. PLUG’N ROLL even covers the green power premium.
For the third time in a row, Repower has received Great Start! certification from the Great Place to Work institute. Nine out of ten apprentices at Repower say the Graubünden energy company is a very good training establishment. Repower trains around 30 apprentices in eight different trades.
In the first half of 2020 Repower Switzerland posted operating income (EBIT) of CHF 18 million (versus CHF 20 million in the first half of 2019).