Promoting Mini-Hydraulics and Renewable Energies in Districts


To assess the potential of mini-hydraulics in the Valais region and raise awareness within its districts regarding energy efficiency and renewable energy.


RegioplusThe Ark FoundationHES-SO Valais, Canton of Valais

The Ark Foundation mainly works with research institutes and/or companies. However, it also targets local authorities. This was the case in 2007.
Under the authority of BlueArk, The Ark lauched an initiative aiming to encourage Valais districts to assess their drinking water turbining potential. This project also aimed to raise awareness within Valais districts regarding renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Foundation collaborated with the Department for Economy, Energy and Spatial Planning (“DEET”) and HES-SO Valais. This project, called BlueArk PCH, was supported by Regioplus and lasted for three years.


Project Contents

The Ark Foundation and HES-SO Valais experts first assessed the turbining potential of 90 Valais districts. They then carried out a technical and economic study of drinking water turbining for future installations, all over the canton.


Practical Results

Two thirds of the districts took part and funded the initiative as part of the project. In total, the Federal Office of Energy was presented with 45 actual projects as part of an application for compensatory feed-in remuneration (CFR) or a similar type of subsidising.

These projects were used as a decision-making database by districts, which were then able to appoint engineering firms or electric distributors to implement installations concretely. The various industry contributors were able share their experiences. Another observation was made upon project completion: setting up small-scale hydraulics projects is very time consuming. Collaboration amongst districts is often considered.

A guide and various other practical tools were drawn up upon project completion. Such educational material was greatly appreciated by various districts. The project was completed in 2010, and featured theme-based information workshops which were implemented for the benefit of the districts. Other districts, located outside the canton expressed an interest for this theme. Indeed, theme-based workshops were also organised by The Ark in the Tessin, Vaud and Fribourg cantons.

Apart from a keen interest for mini-hydraulics, this project helped raise awareness amongst local elected representatives regarding energy issues (renewable production, energy efficiency, building energy management, public lighting…). Beyond the project, The Ark Foundation and its partners are still raising awareness about renewable energy and energy efficiency, as these issues present strong potential for the Valais economy.

Fondation The Ark - Rue de l'Industrie 23 - 1950 Sion - Suisse | Réservation de salles