The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) brings more than 1.3 million people safely to their destinations every day and requires a reliable energy management. For an efficient schedule of their hydro assets the SBB depends on precise hydrological forecasts which Meteomatics AG has been providing since 2019.
SBB currently runs on energy obtained from 90% hydroelectric power. By 2025, the goal is to run on 100% renewable energy. For this purpose, the SBB uses its own hydroelectric power plants, reduces the energy consumption and considers investments in renewable energy sources. SBB's entire transmission line network covers 1900 kilometers. To ensure that the required energy can be generated and consumed optimally, hydrological forecasts are required which Meteomatics provides with the highest precision and quality.
To generate a hydrological forecast, a catchment is defined and divided into individual cells. As rain flows from the highest cell to the lowest, it is necessary to analyze where water will seep into the soil and how it will drain away. Finally, the predicted runoff can be used to predict the water level of a dam, lake or river and thus ensure that the regulatory requirements regarding minimum water levels are met. In addition, it can be planned precisely when and how much water can be drained off and thus how much energy can be generated.
In this process, the SBB provides Meteomatics AG with real-time measurements of water levels and flow data. These are ingested into our own models and thus improve the hydrological forecasts. These are supplied to SBB for an optimal asset planification. Since the start of the project in 2019, Meteomatics AG has been supporting the SBB with hydrological forecasts such as runoff forecasts for various catchment areas and power plants in Switzerland. Together, we ensure that rail operations can be run in an economical and energy-efficient manner.