Grand'Maison Dam

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Grand'Maison Dam
Barrage de Grand'Maison.JPG
Grand'Maison Dam is located in France
Grand'Maison Dam
Location of Grand'Maison Dam in France
Official nameBarrage de Grand'Maison
LocationVaujany, Isère
Coordinates45°12′21″N 06°07′01″E / 45.20583°N 6.11694°E / 45.20583; 6.11694Coordinates: 45°12′21″N 06°07′01″E / 45.20583°N 6.11694°E / 45.20583; 6.11694
Construction began1978
Opening date1985
Owner(s)Électricité de France (EDF)
Dam and spillways
ImpoundsEau d'Olle
Height (foundation)160 m (525 ft)
Height (thalweg)140 m (459 ft)
Length550 m (1,804 ft)
Dam volume12,000,000 m3 (15,695,407 cu yd)[1]
CreatesLac de Grand Maison
Total capacity140,000,000 m3 (113,500 acre⋅ft)
Power Station
Commission date1987
Hydraulic head955 m (3,133 ft) (max, lower plant)
Turbines4 x 150 MW Pelton-type
8 x 150 MW Francis pump turbine
Installed capacity1,800 MW
Annual generation1,420 GWh

The Grand'Maison Dam is an embankment dam on L'Eau d'Olle, a tributary of the Romanche River. It is located in Vaujany of Isère within the French Alps. The primary purpose of the dam is to serve as the upper reservoir for a pumped-storage hydroelectric scheme where Lac du Verney located lower in the valley is the lower reservoir. The dam was constructed between 1978 and 1985 with its power station being commissioned in 1987. With an installed capacity of 1,800 MW, it is the largest hydroelectric power station in France.[2]

Design and operation[edit]

The Grand'Maison is an embankment dam with a height of 140 m (459 ft) from the riverbed and 160 m (525 ft) from foundation. It is 550 m (1,804 ft) long and has a fill volume of 12,000,000 m3 (15,695,407 cu yd). The reservoir withheld by the dam, Lac de Grand Maison, has a storage capacity of 140,000,000 m3 (113,500 acre⋅ft). The power generation process begins with water stored in its reservoir at an altitude of 1,698 m (5,571 ft). By means of a 7,100 m (23,294 ft) long head-race tunnel which splits into three 1,450 m (4,757 ft) long penstocks, water is sent down to the power station. It is located on the rear bank of Lac du Verney at 45°08′43″N 06°03′03″E / 45.14528°N 6.05083°E / 45.14528; 6.05083 (Grand'Maison Power Plant) which lies at an elevation of 770 m (2,526 ft). The power station has above-ground and below-ground levels. On the above-ground level, there are four 150 MW Pelton turbine-generators which are used for normal conventional hydroelectric power generation. The below-ground level contains eight 150 MW Francis pump turbines which can be used for both power generation and pumping. After electricity is generated, the water is discharged into Lac du Verney, the lower reservoir. When storage in Grand'Maison needs to be replenished, the turbines reverse into pumps and move water from Lac du Verney back to the Grand'Maison Reservoir. The change in elevation between the reservoirs afford the above-ground station a maximum hydraulic head of 920 m (3,018 ft) and the below-ground station 955 m (3,133 ft).[3]

The power station repeats the pumped-storage process as needed and acts as a peaking power plant. Power generation or pumping can be initiated within minutes. On an annual basis, the power station generates 1,420 GWh of electricity and consumes 1,720 GWh in pumping mode. Because pumping occurs during periods of low demand when electricity is cheaper than power generation during those of high demand, the power station is profitable.[3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Donaghe, Robert T.; Chaney, Ronald C.; Marshall L. Silver, eds. (1988). Advanced triaxial testing of soil and rock. Philadelphia, PA: ASTM. p. 488. ISBN 0-8031-0983-0.
  2. ^ "Grand'Maison Dam, France" (PDF). Osmos. Retrieved 14 January 2012.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Grand'Maison" (in French). HydroWeb. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Upstream of The Romanche Valley" (in French). Planete TP. Retrieved 14 January 2012.