Many European countries are looking for an answer to the current energy crisis in Europe. Some countries see a benefit in expanding nuclear power, while others are mainly looking abroad to import more. Switzerland is taking a different path: the country wants more hydroelectric plants, to be (more) independent from the European Union in terms of electricity consumption.
Hydropower is nothing new in Switzerland. Already 57% of the total electricity consumed by the country comes from 677 hydroelectric power stations, making it the fourth largest in Europe. However, Switzerland has not been spared from rising energy costs. In October, it already warned major consumers to use energy in moderation to avoid winter blackouts.
But saving alone is not enough. So the country chooses to build new hydroelectric power stations. By taking advantage of the Swiss Alps, the water tanks can be used to power the turbines, thus generating climate-neutral power.
The Swiss government is looking for the Gornerli Dam for this: it will be 85 meters high, 285 meters wide, and at a cost of up to 240 million euros. The proposed dam will be built right next to the ski village of Zermatt, overlooking the famous Matterhorn. The hydroelectric power plant can supply about 150 thousand homes with electricity.
Although the dam is no larger than the existing hydroelectric power stations in the country, opposition from environmental groups is to be expected: the dam will be built in a nature reserve, and it has a significant impact on the environment.
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