The highest wind farm in Europe
At the Gries, close to the Nufenen Pass in Switzerland, at 2.500m altitude, the Gries wind farm is the highest wind farm in Europe. A first wind turbine was erected in 2011 and another three turbines were constructed in 2016 to form the first complete wind farm in Canton Wallis.
The Gries wind farm construction is a major milestone for wind energy in Switzerland, for the consolidation of new renewable energies in Wallis, and for the Obergoms Municipality where the wind farm is located.
The four wind turbines making up the wind farm are Enercon E70 and E92 wind turbines, with a hub height of 85 meters and a rotor diameter of 70 and 92 meters respectively.
All turbines have a nominal power of 2.3MW. The produced energy is fed into the national high voltage grid through a transformer which, for the first time is Switzerland, connects both a wind farm and as hydro power plant to the electrical grid. The expected energy production of the wind farm is 10 GWh per year. That energy corresponds to the consumption of about 2.850 average Swiss households. energy production figures from the first wind turbine built on the site shows that 60% of the energy is produced in winter month, when energy demand is highest.
Restricted space conditions at the site, the tight bends on the Nufenen Pass and the extremely tight time window were great challenges at this high Alpine building site and called for the highest performance in logistics. Thanks to the excellent cooperation between SwissWinds Development and its partners it was possible to conclude construction in compliance with deadlines and technical requirements.
The effects upon the environment at this location are minimal. Because of the existing hydro-electric power station by lake Gries, the appearance of the natural environment had already been affected since decades. With a few extension and maintenance measures, the existing infrastructure could be used straight away for the wind farm. The required combination of wind and water power is implemented here in an ideal manner.