Portrait – numbers – facts

Intigrated in community, nature and environment

The Cooperative as a Sponsor

«Genossenschaft Wasserwirbelkraftwerke Schweiz» (GWWK, „Cooperative gravitation water vortex power plants Switzerland“), with headquarters at 5040 Schöftland, Switzerland, is a cooperative in the meaning of article 828 ff of Swiss obligation law. It acquires and operates gravitation water vortex power plants. Its goal is to ensure a supply of renewable electric energy on favorable terms for members of the cooperative through a shared membership in GWWK. A co-operation may be a natural or legal entity, as well as non-profit-making institutions. The requirement is the signing of a share certificate. Loans are re-paid at attractive interest rates. The „GWWK Schweiz“ develops, plans, provides and runs gravitation water vortex power plants with third parties‘ support on the cooperative’s and third party’s behalf. The projects are mainly sold to the „Cooperative Gravitation Water Vortex Power Plants Switzerland“.

Prix Watt d’Or 2011

Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE has stated that river renaturation through gravitation water vortex power plant projects is a useful, innovative and economic solution. The greatest award for innovation is the Prix Watt d’Or 2011 in the category of „Renewable Energies“. In January 2011, this award went to the Cooperative Gravitation Water Vortex Power Plants Switzerland.

Numbers and Facts

Only 40 years ago, there were approximately 7,000 river power stations in Switzerland. Today, there are approx. 1,000 remaining. The other 6,000 were shut down, because of the belief to generate electricity in a more efficient and secure way with big power stations. The old, shut down and new locations can or rather must be renaturated and revitalized because of statutory regulations. Those places are perfect locations for gravitation water vortex power plants. The modified law of water pollution control (GSchG) is valid from 1 January 2011. New is that running waters and lakes have to be closer to nature. Today, approx. 40% of running water of the Swiss midland is obstructed – in settlement areas even 80%. The modifications of the water pollution control law are important conditions that water courses and shores become closer to nature. As a species-rich habitat, they have a good impact on the biodiversity. Furthermore, the benefit of a local recreation area for the population  and tourism increases.

The pilote plant in Schöftland is a prototype.  With its 6.5 m long diameter of the basin and a height of fall of 1.5 m, It generates 10 to 15 kW electrical power, depending on the amount of water.

This amount equals an annual production of 80,000 to 130,000 kWh and lasts for approx. 20 to 25 households or an annual electricity consumption of 50 – 60 people. The average annual consumption of electrical power in Switzerland is 5,300 kWh.

Together with its partners, GWWK operates a test plant in Switzerland. Experts are continuously searching for new possibilities to optimize capacity and production cost, always considering ecology. They do this in dividing the power plant in different modules or using different materials such as wood, steel or concrete. During this process, they collaborate with universities, polytechnics and other kinds of universities of applied sciences and other partners at home and abroad.

The revenue from the power production is CHF 0.35 per kWh. It is supported and ensured for 25 years by the Federation as  part of CRF (Cost-covering remuneration for feed-in to the electricity grid). Electricity prices are defined by certificats of natural electricity on the free market. An average gravitation water vortex power plant investment totals around CHF 100’000 to 800’000 and varies widely from size, location and project.