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Hydroenergy Potential in Switzerland

Potential for Hydropower Development

In the regions coloured in light blue and in middle blue, the use of hydro-power can theoretically be extended further especially using hydroelectric power plants of small capacity. This applies mainly to the northern mountain range of the Jura and the peripheral part of the Alps (light blue) and also, but to a lesser extent, to the rest of the Jura, the Pre-alps and the Mittelland (middle blue). In the Central Alps hydro-power is maximally used.

This data is based on the analysis of theoretical potential energy, as represented on the map below. Other important aspects, such as the conservation of nature and of landscape, have not been considered.


Potential energy of precipitation and tributaries, and the present use of this energy


The numbers represent the potential energy of precipitation, as well as the one of the tributary,  related to the altitude at which the water flows out of the considered region (marked by a blue point). The first number means the energy in terawatt hours per year and the second one the percentage of this energy that is presently used for the production of electricity.

The theoretical potential energy all over Switzerland is about 140 TWh per year, corresponding to an average power of 16 GW. However, it should be noted that it is not possible or desirable to extract 100% of the potential energy from water.

The theoretical potential energy and its use have been determined with the help of the "Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland" and the "Statistik der Wasserkraftanlagen der Schweiz", respectively.



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ESHA (European Small Hydropower Association)