Planning, construction and operation
Without lines, switching substations and transformers, nothing works in the transmission grid. Swissgrid is continuously modifying the grid, which spans some 6,700 kilometres, by means of expansion, improvements or dismantling, in order to meet the needs at home and abroad. Infrastructure projects are managed, for example, by Sacha B. As Project Manager Lines, he guides construction projects from all the way from project planning, management of the approval processes, invitation to tender and implementation through to handover to the grid management.
One of Swissgrid's tasks is to operate the electricity plants. Organised in three regions, employees like Loïc M. ensure that lines and substations are regularly inspected, maintained and repaired when necessary. The Plant Manager plans the maintenance work which is to be carried out by external service providers and is responsible for areas as quality management and cost management.
In order to guarantee occupational safety and the protection of the environment, risk assessment is one of the key tasks of Patrick V., Safety Officer in Western Switzerland. As every project is different, he always visits the site himself to form an impression of it, and coordinates construction and maintenance projects with the site managers.
A reliable supply of electricity is only possible if the grid frequency is stable and there is no overloading. To ensure that this is the case, operator Patrycja L. and her colleagues monitor the power flows in the transmission grid and control them, for example by isolating lines from the grid or by instructing power plants to increase or reduce their output. If a Swiss power plant fails and the control energy needed to make up the shortfall cannot be sourced in this country, Switzerland's security of supply depends on our European neighbours. To ensure that enough electricity producers and also enough consumers are available, Alexandra Z., Market Development Specialist, is working with other countries to establish a platform for the European exchange of electricity.
All these employees ensure that electricity is constantly available. Despite all the safety measures, however, outages can still occur. That’s when Paul N., Head of Crisis Management and Business Continuity Management, and his crisis team spring into action. He assesses whether a technical fault, market failure or even a cyber attack has caused the outage. If necessary, Switzerland's national government, cantons or European neighbours are informed and involved in resolving the problem.