The hydropower industry is facing major challenges and will play a major role in the context of Switzerland's 2050 energy strategy. In order to meet the demands of a transforming world of energy, industries need to innovate, especially in the area of digitization.
These challenges have led FMV, HYDRO Exploitation and Alpiq to collaborate with the HES-SO Valais-Wallis and its School of Engineering (HEI), which has been involved in hydroelectric projects for several years.
This partnership consists in the creation of the Hydro Alps Lab, an applied research and development laboratory, which will eventually employ 10 people. This laboratory will be financed in equal parts by the partners, to which will be added third-party funds (SFOE, Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe, SNSF, Innosuisse, among others) obtained in the framework of specific projects. The collaboration agreement will last five years and represents a minimum financial investment of CHF 2 million.
A step forward in the canton of Valais' energy strategy
The Hydro Alps Lab will work on the development of sustainable and modern hydropower systems. This will be done by generating innovation through R&D and by building shared competencies in the field of hydropower production.
For Roberto Schmidt, Head of the Department of Finance and Energy, this partnership is in line with the canton's energy strategy, particularly with regard to the importance of hydropower in generating value in Valais.