A piece of work with multiple goals

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Serre-Ponçon, a piece of work with multiple goals, serving the community.

The law of 1955, at the origin of the dam of Serre-Ponçon, gives three missions at the development of the Durance: to produce electricity, to assure the water needs for irrigation of the Lower Durance and to fight against the floods. If EDF is very attentive to fulfill its primary mission of public service for the production of electricity from clean and renewable energy, it is brought to be seen in Serre-Ponçon as water manager for public and multiple use: electricity generation, irrigation, providing drinking water and industrial water, fishing, tourism, water activities and water sports.

In this context, by the agreement of June 16 2008, EDF wanted to give the hydroelectric public domain of Serre Ponçon for management and tourism development to the SMADESEP. To support this territorial development, the concessionaire also agreed to maintain a minimum exploitation level during the high summer season. This rating, set at 5 meters below the normal hydroelectric exploitation level corresponds to the lake level under which most water activities begin to be seriously penalized. Incorporated into the conditions of the hydroelectric exploitation of the concessionaire, it must be completely respected each year from the 1st of July to the 31st of August.

Serre-Ponçon: first link in a hydroelectric chain of 250km long

The power plant of Serre-Ponçon produces about 700 million kWh per year, approximately the consumption of the Hautes-Alpes. With a power of 380 MW (one third of a nuclear reactor) it’s the most powerful hydraulic power plant in the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d' Azur, and one of the most powerful of France.

But Serre-Ponçon is also the reservoir from which begins the EDF canal of the Durance. Real spinal column of energy, this channel carries stored water of the reservoir of Serre Ponçon and runs over more than 250 km, up to the factory of Saint Chamas, located on the banks of the pond of Berre. Throughout this channel, 15 hydraulic power plants slog water successively. Upwards the Lake of Serre-Ponçon 8 hydraulic power plants were built across the Durance and its tributaries. With the power plants of the Verdon, a tributary of the Durance, the entire hydroelectric chain Durance - Verdon gathers 32 stations. Together they form one of the five most important water deposits of France (1/6th of the medium hydraulic peak). This group Durance - Verdon shows a potential production of 7 billion kWh. This corresponds to:

  •   10% of the French hydraulic production,
  •   40-60 % of the electric production in the region Provence-Alpes- Côte d' Azur, an essential production for the region that now consumes twice as much electricity as it produces.
  •   15-20 % of the consumption of the Provence -Alpes Côte d'Azur region.

19 power plants of the Durance - Verdon chain are controlled by remote computing systems and simultaneously, from the Joint Command Post Sainte-Tulle, near Manosque. This centralized exploitation ensures a synchronized operation with a power of 2,000 MW, the equivalent of two nuclear reactors. In less than 10 minutes, this potential of production can be mobilized, a valuable asset to respond in real time to changes in electricity consumption or to deal with electrical system failures.