The new extra-high-voltage line between Ernen and Ulrichen has been brought into service mid-October 2019. The preliminary work for the next section between Ernen and Mörel-Filet will start in the coming year.
The construction of the last of the 57 pylons in mid-October 2019 marked the completion of the extra-high-voltage line between Ernen and Ulrichen and allowed this section to enter into operation. The existing overhead line has been shut down and will be dismantled, the work starting in spring 2020. This will relieve the burden on the villages in the municipalities of Ernen, Ritzingen and Reckingen. The removal of the total of 177 pylons between Ernen and Ulrichen is expected to be completed by the end of next year. The locations of the former pylons will be revegetated. Furthermore, Swissgrid will be implementing nature conservation projects of national importance in the vicinity of the new route.
As the extra-high-voltage line between Ernen and Ulrichen is now in operation, the next step is the construction of the section between Mörel-Filet and Ernen. The planning approval decision of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) is legally binding. Swissgrid can now build the new overhead line. The preliminary work will start next year. The access roads to the future pylon locations and installation areas will be constructed by spring 2021. The construction of the pylon foundations is expected to start in the summer of 2021. Commissioning will be completed by the end of 2022 and the current 220 kV line will be dismantled by 2023.
The new extra-high-voltage line will be used to transport the electricity from hydro power-generation in Valais. The project provides for the construction of a new 30-kilometre 380-kV line between Mörel-Filet and Ulrichen. A 132-kV SBB railway power line will also be conducted along the route. This is critical for the safe operation of the Gotthard Base Tunnel.