AF to manage expansion of 628-MW Nant de Drance to 900 MW

OLTEN, Switzerland 11/18/11 (PennWell) -- AF AB of Sweden has received a contract to design and manage expansion of the proposed 628-MW Nant de Drance pumped-storage project in Switzerland to 900 MW.

AF said the 15 million euro (US$20.2 million) contract is a follow-up order to a 27 million euro (US$39 million) contract awarded in 2009 to AF Colenco, a subsidiary of AF Group, to provide engineering services for the project.

Following a decision to increase the capacity of the power plant to 900 MW from 628 MW, AF said it was contracted to provide additional services in the areas of design, project management, and construction. It said the project is scheduled to be operational in 2017.

Nant de Drance is under construction in southwest Switzerland by Nant de Drance SA, a joint venture of energy provider Alpiq, federal railway group SBB, and Forces Motrices Valaisannes.

The project is to utilize the height difference of two existing reservoirs, Emosson and Vieux Emosson, in Finhaut between Martigny and Chamonix, toproduce about 1.5 TWh of peaking power each year. Access to the completely underground plant is to be by a five-kilometer tunnel, minimizing environmental effects of the big power station.

In 2009, Alstom received a 125 million euro (US$167 million) contract to supply Nant de Drance its first variable-speed pumped-storage power plant, featuring four 157-MW vertical Francis reversible turbines, four 170-megavolt-ampere vertical asynchronous motor-generators, and other key equipment. In June 2010, Alstom Switzerland Ltd. awarded a 25 million euro (US$33.1 million) contract to Converteam to supply variable speed drives for both Nant de Drance and the 1,000-MW Linthal-Limmern pumped-storage plant.

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