The Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity, Atel, and the Swiss National Railways, SBB, are working together to strengthen the power supply lines on the approximately 30 kilometre section between the SBB power station in Bitsch (Massaboden) and the town of Ulrichen. In detail, it is a question of the construction of a new power line between Filet/Mörel and Ulrichen. This section is a part of the new 380 kV power line between Chippis and Airolo. Between Filet/Mörel and Ulrichen the masts of the new line are also to carry a 132 kV power line belonging to the SBB. This is to be extended down the valley to the SBB's Massaboden power station. The existing 220 kV line between Filet/Mörel and Ulrichen will be dismantled. In 2002, the Swiss Government defined a corridor for the route of the power line which took into account various requirements such as the distance from residential areas, economic efficiency, protection of the countryside, exposure to the elements, etc., in the sense of a compromise. This corridor is clearly defined in the official planning for overhead power lines (Sachplan Überlandsleitungen - SÜL).
It is anticipated that from 4 February 2008, the project will be on display to the public for 30 days in all the municipalities between Bitsch and Ulrichen. Providing that any objections that might arise can be dealt with in 2008, the project participants expect that following receipt of the planning permission from the Swiss Federal Office for Energy, the power supply line can be implemented in 2010 and 2011.
An environmental impact assessment has been carried out for the more than 30 km long 380 kV line, as well as for the new 132 kV line for the SBB. A pilot survey for this two phase procedure was already carried out in 2001. The extensive environmental impact assessment report is a part of the project that is planned to be on public display in February 2008. The report covers land-use planning and use-oriented aspects as well as the affects of the project on the individual environmental areas.
The new high-voltage power line between Filet/Mörel and Ulrichen is a part of the West – East electricity transit axis and hence a part of Switzerland's strategic network. It is to be expanded between Chamoson and Airolo to become 380 kV end-to-end. The use of a higher capacity manifests itself in increased supply reliability in all parts of Switzerland. At the same time the Valais will also benefit inasmuch as the energy generated in its hydroelectric power stations can be more easily fed into the grid. This will eliminate the need for production restrictions that are always necessary in summer. The SBB's railway power supply grid can also take advantage of the expansion of capacity. With a view to the opening of the Gotthard base tunnel, the new power line will increase the supply reliability between Lötschberg and Gotthard. The section of the 380 kV power line, together with the 132 kV power line, between Ulrichen and Airolo over the Nufenen pass, was completed in the autumn of 2005. The section between Chamoson and Chippis is currently in the approval phase, the section between Chippis and Filet/Mörel is in the project planning phase.
Atel Transmission Ltd.