Dear Colleagues,
You are kindly invited to register for our annual field trip that will take place on the 18th of September at the Emosson dam, in the Canton of Valais.
Electricité d'Emosson SA collects water from the Mont Blanc Massif, which it channels into a lake located at an altitude of 1930 meters. Founded in 1954, the company decided to begin the construction work of the Emosson Dam in April 1967, which became operational on July 1st , 1975. This was made possible by the flooding of the Barberine Dam, previously agreed upon by its owners, the Swiss Federal Railways (CFF); it is now submerged under 42 meters of water.
A presentation of the new pumping/turbine project will be given on site by the consortium engineers.  Please see the attached document for more information on the project. 
We will travel by train to Martigny then take the scenic railway to Le Châtelard. 

Some practical details for the day:
  • Meeting time 07:45, departure 8:03 from Geneva Cornavin station
  • 10:45 Presentation of the new Emosson dam project at "Nant de Drance" site supervision office
  • 13:00 Lunch at the Lac d'Emosson restaurant (1970m)
  • Walk along the Emosson dam with a geological regional overview
  • 15:45 travel back to Geneva
**Please see for a detailed program overview in pdf programme 

Walking shoes 
Warm clothes and/or rain coat depending weatherRegistration: 
We encourage you to register as soon as possible through the following link, preferably by Friday, September 12:

Please note that there is an individual registration fee of CHF 30 (non-refundable). Our sponsors and the SPE Swiss section will generously cover all other travel and lunch expenses. 
Payments can be made in cash to Julien Cap/Sabina Warnell or via bank transfer to: 

Geneva Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers
Post Finance 
Nordring 8
3030 Berne
Account Nr. 17-465294-3 
(IBAN: CH90 0900 0000 1746 5294 3)
Dear SPE Swiss section members and Friends,
This year we will have the pleasure to meet for a special one day field trip in the western Alps, more precisely in the Canton du Valais at the Emosson dam related to hydraulic power generation and geology.
The Emosson area has a long history of hydraulic energy. The first dam named Barberine was built in the early 1920's, in order to produce electric power to feed the train network of the Swiss Federal trains (CFF). Later on, a second dam (Vieux Emosson lake) was built in the mid 1950's at 2205 m altitude above the Barberine dam to enhance water reserves of the lower dam by 13.5 million m3. The third Emosson dam was built between 1967 and 1973 and flooded the old dam. The current basin covers a much greater area and its reservoir was increased from 40 to 227 million m3. Water from the reservoir first powers the 189 MW Vallorcine Power Station downstream and just over the border in Châtelard, France. Water is then sent through a headrace tunnel to the 162 MW La Bâtiaz Power Station, 12 km (7 mi) to the east towards Martigny, Switzerland. The drop between the dam and La Bâtiaz Power Station is 1,400 m (4,593 ft).
In 2009, Alpiq and the CFF launched an underground pumping/turbine project between the Vieux Emosson dam and Emosson on the Nant de Drance. This project plans to pump water from the Emosson lake up to the Vieux Emosson lake during low electrical consumption periods (nights and week-ends). This water will then be turbined the reverse way at peak consumption periods.
Initially the project planned four turbines producing a total of 600 MW. The Forces Motrices Valaisannes then took a 10% stake in the joint venture. The Alstom group is to furnish the variable turbines to be delivered by 2017. In December 2008 the works started and were planned to last for 7 years. In 2011, authorizations were obtained to enhance power production from 600 to 900 MW. This involves increasing height of the Vieux Emosson dam from 45 to 67 m. This modification brings the retained volume of water of Vieux Emosson from 13.5 to 25 million m3 with very little environmental impact.
The drilling of the galleries is now completed and the enhancement of the Vieux Emosson dam and all other related works are currently underway.
During this field trip we will have a presentation of the entire Nant de Drance project on site by the consortium engineers, see A lunch will be taken at the panoramic Emosson dam restaurant (1970m) and in the afternoon we will walk along the dam with a geological overview of the area. The famous Triassic dinosaurs' tracks of Emosson, are too far to be reached on this trip (3 hours walk one way) and may be the goal of a future excursion.
This field trip has been organised in order to travel by train and postal bus to reach the Emosson dam (see detailed programme). The second train from Martigny to Finhaut-Le Châtelard is a very picturesque railway journey, worth the travel by itself!
I hope to see many of you for this unique visit to a very interesting power generation project underway in the Alps.
Yours sincerely,
Alexandre Muller SPE Swiss section Chairman September 2014


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