Lütschinen valleys get upgraded power lines for greater power supply security

On Friday, the green light was given for greater security of power supply in the Lütschinen valleys. The medium-voltage lines between Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald are being upgraded in collaboration with BKW Power Grid and Jungfrau Railways. This means that the two valleys can continue to enjoy a reliable source of electricity at all times if one of the two high-voltage lines supplying the two valleys were to fail.

The project plans to upgrade the existing medium-voltage lines of the Lütschental power plant, owned by Jungfrau Railways, between the Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald substations. The two substations are each supplied by a high-voltage line and are connected to each other by two medium-voltage lines: one via Zweilütschinen and the other via Kleine Scheidegg. BKW Power Grid is responsible for supplying the two substations in Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, which is why the two companies are working together on this important project.

After an initial exchange in 2020 on the security of the power supply for the two Lütschinen valleys, the project was fleshed out in the following years. The CHF 7.6 million project is being carried out by Jungfrau Railways, with BKW covering 60% of the costs due to the shared benefit.

“Realising an ambitious project together”
At the symbolic ground-breaking ceremony, Dr Roland Küpfer of BKW Power Grid spoke of a “challenging project that we are realising together with Jungfrau Railways”. The increasing electrification of the area with a sharp rise in energy consumption requires an upgraded electricity grid. “BKW Power Grid and the Jungfrau Railways are working hand in hand to upgrade electricity distribution in the Lütschinen valleys and their infrastructures.”

Jungfrau Railways director Urs Kessler emphasised that his company, together with BKW Power Grid, is helping “to ensure that the population in the two Lütschinen valleys can get sufficient electricity at all times, especially during the winter sports season”. Where the Jungfrau Railways still has overhead lines on wooden poles, as far as possible, these will be laid underground as part of the project.

To be completed by the end of 2027
Some sub-projects can and have already been realised this year. The reinforced Lauterbrunnen-Wengen mountain line has been in operation since October 2023. The planning application for the underground laying of the Zweilütschinen-Lütschental line is scheduled for December 2023 and the reinforcement of the Schmelzi wide-span pylons is to be completed in December.

Next year, among other things, the underground installations in the Zaunbrücke-Stalden area (Lütschental to Burglauenen), Mälboumgraben-Ortweid (Grindelwald to Burglauenen) and the start of construction of the pipe block between Lütschental and Zweilütschinen are planned. The entire project should be completed by the end of 2027. This means that from 2028, it will be possible to supply the two valleys with power safely and reliably at all times (either on 50,000-volt or 16,000-volt lines).