Hydroelectric Power Plant, Winterthur

11 Sep. 2010

A group of about two dozen MIT alums and friends gathered in the outskirts of Winterthur on a beautiful sunny day in September for a tour of a small hydro-electric plant. People came from all over Switzerland.

We got a great education on the history of the area, how the plant was built, how it is operated and maintained today, and how it will be upgraded in the near future. Our engineering minds were intrigued by the various details. One of the most interesting aspects of this hydro-electric plant is its effort to keep a low environmental footprint. This includes having a special “fish ladder” so that fish can easily swim upstream and bypass the turbine area, as well as special attention to ensuring that there is very low noise production. Thus, neither the local animals nor humans are disturbed by its presence.

Many thanks are due to Shira Lee, who came up with the idea for this tour and organized a fantastic event for us, and also to the Stadtwerke Winterthur, who sent several of their top people to “work” on a Saturday.

Jonathan Claman