Barrage de la Grande Dixence
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Barrage de la Grande Dixence

Grand Dixence Dam

The Grand Dixence Dam is located on the Dixence River, and it is located on the Val d’Herenes in the Valais canton in the country of Switzerland. The Val d’Herens is a valley in the canton of Valais. It was created by Herens glacier, and that glacier retreated when the last ice age was ending. It is currently the Borgne river valley, which is a Rhone tributary. It is over 935 feet high, and that makes it the tallest dam on the globe as far as gravity dams go. It is within the Complex of Cleuson-Dixence. With the main purpose of generating hydroelectric power, the dam gives power to a handful of power stations, and it generates about 2,000 GWh each year, which is enough to give power to more than 400,000 households in Switzerland. 

The dam holds Lake Dix, the reservoir. It has a surface area of four square kilometers, and it is the 2nd biggest Valais lake and the biggest lake higher than 2,000 meters in the Swiss Alps. The reservoir gets it water from a handful of separate pumping stations: Arolla, Ferpecle, Stafel, and Z’Mutt.

History 

In the early 1920s, Energie Ouest Suisse (EOS) was set up with a couple of tiny power stations. To create enough electricity, EOS turned to the Valais canton, which has nearly 60% of the glaciers in Switzerland and stores the biggest volume of water in all of Europe. Five years later, EOS was granted the license for the area. In 1929, about 1,200 people built the initial Dixence Dam, and it was completed in 1935. The initial dam just to send water to one of the power stations. 

After World War II was over, more industries needed additional electricity and the CLeuson Dam construction began in 1947 and was finished in 1951. The Super Dixence Dam plans were then being completed by Grande Dixence SA. The building of the Super Dixence Dam soon started later on in 1950. 

The majority of the water comes from glaciers when the glaciers melt throughout the summer. The lake is often at full capacity by late fall, and it empties out in the winter, eventually getting to its lowest point at the beginning of spring. 

This dam has been worked on for nearly 100 years. It is one of the most important dams in Switzerland. If you’ve never seen a dam in Europe, this would be a good one to start at.

Barrage de la Grande Dixence Photo Gallery

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