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Construction starts on efficient heat/power cogeneration plant in Monthey

Atel builds high-efficiency industrial power station

(PresseBox) (Olten, ) On 22 February 2008, Atel and its partner in Monthey(canton of Valais) laid the foundation stone for a new industrial power station. Atel is investing around CHF 100 million in an efficient heat/power cogeneration plant with an electrical capacity of 55 MW and a thermal capacity of 43 MW. The plant is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2009.

What makes the plant so special is its high efficiency level. In his speech at the ground-breaking ceremony Giovanni Leonardi, CEO of Atel, said: "The new heatpower cogeneration plant will be capable of converting no less than 80 percent of the primary energy into heat and electricity." Unlike a gas-fired combined-cycle power station, the new plant primarily produces industrial steam for use by the chemical industry in Monthey. Thanks to optimal heat/power cogeneration, the efficiency level is around 20 percent higher than with a conventional thermal power station. "I hope this ground-breaking ceremony will resonate throughout Switzerland and give rise to further small and large thermal power plants," said Leonardi, adding that this was nevertheless dependent on the right legal framework.

The new power plant, with a thermal capacity of 43 MW and an electrical capacity of 55 MW, will replace part of the older energy supply facilities of Cimo (Compagnie industrielle de Monthey SA), and will generate 466,000 tonnes of steam and 456 Gigawatt hours of electricity per year. The steam as well as some of the electrical energy will be supplied to Cimo for the three chemical companies Ciba SC, Syngenta and Huntsman, with any surplus electricity being fed into the local medium-voltage grid. Atel has been operating two gas-fired combined-cycle power stations along very similar lines for more than three years, in conjunction with two chemical companies in Northern Italy.

Atel founded a new subsidiary, Monthel SA, for the construction and operation of the new power plant. The estimated investment in this project is around CHF 100 million. A customer as well as a supplier (i.e. an industrial partner) of Monthel, Cimo will also be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the heat/power cogeneration plant. The commune of Monthey granted the construction permit for the power station on 4 April 2007. Kraftanlagen München GmbH, an Atel Group company, is responsible for the turnkey implementation of this project.