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Swiss reserve power plant to be operational by February

General Electric
General Electric has been comissioned to construct the reserve power plant. © Keystone / Urs Flueeler

A new 250-megawatt power plant in northern Switzerland will be functional on February 15, its operator General Electric (GE) confirmed on Monday.

The reserve plant was ordered by the government in September in response to potential power shortages this winter. It will have eight turbines fitted out to operate with gas, oil or hydrogen.

Una mano gira la rotella del termostato


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The temporary back-up facility, costing CHF460 million ($485 million), is slated to remain in place in Birr until 2026. Once operational, it will generate around a quarter of the energy provided by the Leibstadt nuclear power plant.

Like many European countries, Switzerland is facing the prospect of power shortages, primarily as a result of Russia restricting gas imports following its invasion of Ukraine.

The first gas turbines have already been delivered to the Birr plant and will be connected next month in readiness for testing, GE said.

The government has toned down environmental and noise restrictions for the plant as it is deemed of vital importance to energy security.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR