• EM Power

A new hydroelectric power station in Liège

The Grosses Batte hydroelectric power station was opened on Wednesday 27 January. Located in Liège on the Ourthe river, this new power station, which will officially be turning turbines in a few weeks, will produce around 4,400,000 kWh/year, the equivalent of the annual consumption of nearly 1,300 households.

In addition to the power station, consisting of two turbines and one screen per turbine to remove the waste, the Grosses Batte site also has:

  • a floating dam to protect the power station against imposing floating bodies,

  • technical premises with a green roof;

  • a completely renovated fish ladder which allows fish to swim up from downstream to upstream of the dam to ensure the necessary migrations;

  • Located in an urban environment, these facilities were deliberately built flush with the bank to limit their visual impact.

This new power station is part of a SOFICO programme aimed at conceding waterfalls from dams on three Walloon rivers to concessionaires in order to equip them with removable hydroelectric power stations.

The three rivers involved this programme are: the Haute-Meuse, the Basse Sambre and the Ourthe.

Three power stations have been opened on the Ourthe (Grosses Batte, Chanxhe and Fêchereux-Honypour), representing a total production estimated at 7,500,000 kWh/year, equivalent to the annual consumption of more than 2,100 households. Of these three sites, the Grosses Batte power plant is the first to be installed with turbine capacity. Still in the test phase, it will officially begin operations within a few weeks.

Eight power stations are currently in operation throughout Wallonia: Tailfer, Waulsort, Hastière, Hun and Houx for the Haute-Meuse, Marcinelle and Monceau-sur-Sambre for the Basse Sambre and Grosses Batte for the Ourthe.

In 2019, the operational removable power stations produced nearly 34,000,000 kWh, equivalent to the annual consumption of more than 9,500 households.

By the end of 2021, 12 power stations should be operational. This represents two-thirds of SOFICO's programme:

  • the Anseremme (Haute-Meuse) and Chanxhe (Ourthe) power stations should officially be in operation in the first half of 2021;

  • the Roselies and Auvelais (Basse Sambre) power stations should officially be in operation in the second half of this year.

In addition to SOFICO, which concedes dam waterfalls to develop both removable and fixed hydroelectric power stations, SPW Mobilité et Infrastructures, as manager of the Walloon waterways network, is a key player in the project.

The SPW Nature and Forest Department, in collaboration with the Environmental Studies Department of the SPW-MI, is checking that the project fits into a context of restoring the ecological continuity of the watercourse.

Finally, the concessionaire, SA Merytherm, has won SOFICO's calls for tenders for the hydroelectric equipment for the programmes developed on the Basse-Sambre and Ourthe sites.

Photo: The Grosses Batte hydroelectric power station on the Ourthe river in Liège © 2021

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