Pylons and poles disappear from the alpine landscape
Repower invests on an ongoing basis in expanding and modernising its electricity grid. Among other things this means regularly replacing overhead lines with new underground cable lines. Electricity pylons and poles can then be removed from the alpine landscape.
In the Upper Engadine on the level ground between Champfèr and Albanatscha, thirteen pylons and 71 wooden poles were removed.
In 2021 Repower invested a total of 25.4 million francs in extending and maintaining electricity grids. These investments help constantly improve the availability, security of supply and performance of power grids in Repower’s supply area. In two more recent grid-related projects, however, Repower went beyond this objective.
In the Upper Engadine on the level ground between Champfèr and Albanatscha, 13 pylons and 71 wooden poles were removed in autumn. Prior to that Repower had reinforced and modernised the section of line between Champfèr and Silvaplana and Albanatscha. The new cable line runs underground. Part of it runs through a lake, Lej da Champfèr, and the tunnel of the new Silvaplana bypass. The cable line takes equal account of the landscape, the environment, and the leisure and tourism infrastructure.
“Underground cable lines enjoy broader acceptance because they improve the appearance of the landscape.”
Gerhard Bräuer, Head of Grid and Supply Asset Management
In Laax, construction has begun on a new 60kV cable line. The high-performance underground line will replace the overhead line between Prau Petschen and Staderas as well as the existing cable line through the heart of the village. The 3.6-kilometre-long overhead line will be dismantled once the new cable line has been laid and assembled. At this point a total of 20 electricity pylons, 270 tonnes of concrete and 78 tonnes of steel and aluminium will be dismantled. The new cable line runs through uninhabited areas in the west of the municipality of Laax and does not touch any nature conservation or building zones.
Under the Electricity Supply Act (StromVG) and the related ordinances, grid operators in Switzerland are obliged to operate economically efficiently when it comes to operation, maintenance and investment/reinvestment. Repower strives to expand grids in such a way that if possible, grid costs for subscribers stay the same or are lower. However, whenever underground cable lines are technically and economically justifiable, Repower intends to dispense with overhead lines in the interests of the landscape.
“Underground cable lines enjoy broader acceptance because they improve the appearance of the landscape,” says Gerhard Bräuer, Head of Grid and Supply Asset Management. Among the challenges he mentions in relation to underground power lines are that they make faults harder to localise and are subject to damage by civil engineering work. “We take a very close look at each individual cabling project from a technical and financial point of view. Not only that, but we attach great importance to careful consultation with the communities affected when it comes to finding a suitable route for laying a line.”
Head of Grid and Supply Asset Management