ROMANCHE-GAVET - EXTENDING SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
THE LARGEST HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT IN FRANCE
EDF, the French electricity company and the leader of hydropower in Europe, is currently conducting the largest hydroelectric project in France. What makes this project so special and so impressive? EDF aims to replace the six existing power plants and the five existing dams located in the Romanche valley by a single hydroelectric facility and a single dam. The power plant will be 100% underground, located at the heart of the iconic Alps mountains.
This new complex will be more powerful (+40%), more environmentally friendly and will fit better into the landscape. It is designed to optimize the hydroelectric potential of the Romanche river and increase the energy production for the region.
Started in 2013, this giant project extends over 10 km in a French village called Livet-et-Gavet. It is composed of three key areas: the new dam located in Livet, the new 9.3 km underground intake tunnel – which connects the dam to the power plant – and the new power plant entirely underground too, located in Gavet.
A CUSTOMIZED DESIGN TO INCREASE THE OUTPUT OF THE HYDROPOWER PLANT
EDF Hydro, one of GE Renewable Energy’ longtime customers, has called upon our teams’ expertise to contribute to this colossal project.
GE Renewable Energy is responsible for the study, the manufacturing, the supply and the commissioning of the two 46 MW Francis turbines-generators. The performance of the plant will depend on its new runners built with a unique design.
Its design started in our Hydro laboratory in Grenoble, France, where we conducted a detailed study to define the most suited design to the specifications of the project. The shape of this runner, its number of blades and its profile make it unique. Then, GE’s experts manufactured a model test to validate and confirm the performances of this new runners expected by EDF.
The quality of GE equipment and the precision work of the teams were critical in this project. To meet the objectives of EDF Hydro, the manufacturing of the turbines and the assembly of our machines had to respect a tolerance of only a few hundredths millimeters.
These new turbines will provide a high output over a large operating range in order to address the flow variations of the Romanche river.
The installation of the machines is under finalization. The tests and the performances assessment of the machines will be carried out from September 2019.
Once fully commissioned in 2020, the two turbines will generate 560 GWh per year, equivalent to a 40% increase in energy production.