The dams and the power station
Hydroelectric plants in the Upper Gesso Valley
To make use of the abundance of water in the Valle Gesso, in the middle of the 1960s the electricity board Enel built the dam which formed the artificial reservoir, la Piastra, just up above Entracque at a height of around 950 metres.
In the 1970s the Chiotas and Colle Laura dams were built, at almost 2000 metres above sea level. The peculiarity of the Upper Gesso Valley plant is that it produces energy for the grid in the daytime and draws from the grid at night to pump water from the lower reservoir (Piastra) to the higher one (Chiotas). When it was built this was the largest pumping station in Europe.
The hydroelectric power station “Luigi Einaudi” is inside the mountain, near Entracque, in a 200 metre long and 40 metre high cavern. So the area saw new invisible or almost, networks of canals, penstocks, access tunnels, service roads, added to the historic ones.