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Theoretical hydroelectric potential in Switzerland

The detailed knowledge of the hydroelectric potential of all rivers in Switzerland is an important information for planning purposes the site investigation for small hydro power issues. For an overall view on the resource water all influencing factors like protected areas, technical feasibility, economical benefit as well as all stakeholders have to be taken into account.

The hydroelectric potential for each stream was calculate in detail by using existing geodata distributed by federal institutes and the swisstopo. In total we analyzed 49,560 km of rivers. With a spatial analysis in ArcGIS stream sections are identified which lie in protected areas or which are already in use.

Results are presented in a problem-oriented manner and at various levels of detail. This guarantees a clear layout of the information at all map scales. The information stored in the geo-database is the basis for all maps and data tables. Results are shown in maps of different scale and in a digital atlas.

The estimated total theoretical hydroelectric potential is about 11,548 MW. From this total sum, we have to subtract 1,677 MW which are in protected zones and 1,893 MW which are already use. However, factors such as technical feasibility and economical benefit will decrease the hydroelectric potential which can be developed with small hydro power plants significantly.

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Client: Bundesamt für Energie, BFE
Date: 2012
Duration (month): 36
Software: ArcGIS