A Swiss-Indian enterprise plans to develop 1,000 special hydro-electric power plants in remote Indian villages without electricity. (SRF Schweiz Aktuell/swissinfo.ch)
The plants will be copies of a gravitation water vortex plant in the village of Schöftland, canton Aargau – the only one in Switzerland.
The plant is built directly on top of the river bed and uses gravitational force to drive a turbine, which powers a generator. The system can produce the same amount of energy per year as consumed by 20 to 30 Swiss households.
The installation was built in 2009 and won a ‘best energy project’ award - the prestigious ‘Watt d’Or’ - from the Federal Office of Energy in 2011.
Such plants require a minimum water level of only 0.7 m and a minimum quantity of about 1,000 litres per second to function. The innovative plants are small, simple, low maintenance and built to last.
The new facilities will be set up in remote Indian villages not connected to the national power network. There are around 30,000 villages without electricity.
The gravitation water vortex cooperative GWWK, which runs the Swiss plant, has signed a deal worth several million francs with the Swiss-Indian company, Verde International. The project is also supported by the Indian government and non-governmental organisations.
Over the next 5-10 years, GWWK will help to develop the facilities in India and provide engineering expertise as well as shipping important components.