Émosson Dam

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Émosson Dam
Barrage Emosson.jpg
The dam in 2011
Émosson Dam is located in Switzerland
Émosson Dam
The location of the Émosson Dam in Switzerland
Official nameBarrage d'Émosson
LocationFinhaut, Valais
Coordinates46°04′03″N 6°55′56″E / 46.06751°N 6.93220°E / 46.06751; 6.93220Coordinates: 46°04′03″N 6°55′56″E / 46.06751°N 6.93220°E / 46.06751; 6.93220
PurposeHydroelectric Power
Construction began1967
Opening date1972
Dam and spillways
Type of damArch dam
ImpoundsBarberine [fr]
Height (foundation)180 m (590 ft)
Length560 m (1,840 ft)
Width (base)45 m (148 ft)
CreatesLac d'Émosson
Total capacity227,000,000 m3 (8.0×109 cu ft)
Surface area327 ha (810 acres)
Normal elevation1,931 m (6,335 ft)
Power Station
TurbinesVallorcine: 2 x Pelton-type
La Bâtiaz: 162 3 x Pelton-type, 1 x Francis-type
Installed capacityVallorcine: 189 MW
La Bâtiaz: 162
Total: 351 MW
Annual generation870 GWh

The Émosson Dam (French: Barrage d'Émosson) is a hydroelectric dam development located in Switzerland in the canton of Valais.


A company (Électricité d'Émosson SA) was created in 1954 to build the dam. The Franco-Swiss development, because of the source of capital, uses different pumping water sites and power generation plants. The construction was decided in April 1967.[1] Previously, a border change was made so that the work was entirely on Swiss territory. Indeed, the border would have cut the dam into two. The communes concerned therefore conducted an exchange of territories, endorsed in 1963.[2] Work began in 1967, and commissioning took place in 1975, eight years later.[3] There was already a first dam on the course of the Barberine [fr], the Barberine Dam, owned by Swiss Federal Railways, for which it was necessary to obtain the authorisation to immerse the earlier structure in the reservoir of the new construction.

Origin of the waters[edit]

Three collectors transport the water to the Émosson Dam.

The South Collector picks up the waters of the Argentière Glacier, the Tour Glacier [fr] and the Lognan Glacier, mainly by subglacial water intakes. A free flow gallery of 8.55 km (5.31 mi) length leads the water by gravity to a shielded well where the water crosses the Trient Valley and then rises, always by gravity to the dam.

The West Collector picks up the waters of the French vallies of Bérard and Tré-les-eaux. These waters are channelled by free-flow in a gallery of 7.95 km (4.94 mi) directly to the dam.

The East Collector captures waters of La Fouly and below the Trient Glacier and led by a gallery of more than 18 km (11 mi) long to the Esserts basin, hence the water is either turbined directly at the Vallorcine power station, or pumped into the Émosson reservoir.[3]


The Émosson Dam and the Lac d'Émosson, seen from the Col de Balme (French side).

The dam is located in the Canton of Valais, on the left bank of the Rhône above Martigny. It is fed by the waters of the Mont Blanc massif. The Émosson Dam is Switzerland's third highest dam after the Grande Dixence and Mauvoisin Dams.


  1. ^ "Un peu d'histoire" [A bit of history]. emosson.ch (in French). Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  2. ^ Entre Valais et Mont-Blanc, un sommet d'énergie renouvelable [Between Valais and Mont Blanc, a renewable energy summit] (in French). 2009.
  3. ^ a b Entre Valais et Mont-Blanc, un sommet d'énergie renouvelable [Between Valais and Mont Blanc, a renewable energy summit] (in French). 2009. p. 54.

External links[edit]