There is no modern railway without electricity. This was true already over 100 years ago. As early as 1917, the Ritom hydroelectric power plant in the canton of Ticino supplied electricity for the first time to trains travelling through the Gotthard on the north-south axis. As the power plant has lost none of its importance to this day, the renewal request of the concession by Swiss Federal Railways SBB and Azienda Elettrica Ticinese AET for the utilisation of Ticino's waters was approved for a further 80 years in 2012. The new hydropower plant will replace the existing one from 1917 and will have two turbines and a pump with a capacity of 60 megawatts each.
The power plant's ability to respond quickly to changes in electricity demand is particularly important for grid stability and plays a balancing role in the variability of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy. This contributes significantly to the stability, reliability, and efficiency of the energy system. As a member of the engineering Consortium Ritom Ticino CRT, Lombardi is responsible for all general planning tasks - from the construction project through to commissioning. In this challenging construction project, we were able to benefit from our extensive expertise in the field of power plants and tunnelling. The work was particularly challenging due to the intrusion of mountain water. However, thanks to special injections and the great commitment of the miners, the rock was sealed.
It is not only the generation of electricity at the Ritom hydropower plant that will be sustainable in the future - great importance was also attached to environmental compatibility in other aspects of the project. Rapid changes in water levels due to turbines, which could cause problems for flora and fauna, are a thing of the past. The equalisation basin serves to protect nature in the river. The Ritom power plant thus demonstrates that electricity generation from hydropower and environmental protection go hand in hand.