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Like several European countries, Switzerland is bracing for energy shortages this winter. The country has initiated several short-term measures to enhance its energy security against several uncertainties affecting the European energy markets. Among these measures are both a hydropower reserve and a gas power reserve, the latter of which TDC is contributing to.

Planning and regulations approval of such projects usually take years but the Swiss government expedited the project and within several months, the project contract was signed and construction began. Specifically, on August 17 2022, the Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications (DETEC) issued an ordinance bringing forward the use of such power plants, and then on 2 September, they signed the contract with GE Gas Power to procure eight mobile gas turbines for a combined total capacity of 250 MW. The speed of this process was to ensure critical power supplies starting this winter.

The reserve power plant will be located at GE’s Manufacturing Centre in Birr, in the canton of Aargau, roughly 30 km west of Zurich and is expected to deliver electricity to the grid starting as early as February 2023. GE has a contract with Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) to install, operate, and maintain the units as a backup in case of energy emergencies until 2026.

The turbines can be powered by either gas, oil or hydrogen. Gaseous fuels will be supplied from the pipeline network operated by Erdgas Ostschweiz AG. To secure the supply to the turbines, the existing natural gas pipeline from Othmarsingen to the GE site in Birr will be extended. TDC International was selected as a subcontractor to provide its line pipe (pau wrap® TL) and field joint (pau wrap® FJC) mechanical protection products, for the protection of the additional section of the new pipeline, which will be installed using the HDD trenchless method.

We are proud to be a part of this project and to help SFOE secure a reliable supply for the Swiss communities for the coming winters.

Picture: © GE Website