Austria

Austria

Plans unveiled for €1bn transmission expansion in Austria

Austrian network operator APG will invest more than €1 billion in three major transmission projects designed to help integrate wind capacity in the country.

APG forecasts a gap of up to 3GW between electricity generation and consumption in Austria by 2030
APG forecasts a gap of up to 3GW between electricity generation and consumption in Austria by 2030

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It will spend around €800 million on construction of a 380kV Salzburg Line to connect wind farms in the east of the country with pumped hydro storage facilities in the west.

The operator will also spend more than €300 million expanding the existing network in north Austria to ensure a more decarbonised energy supply in the country’s industrial heartland.

APG will the invest about €200 million replacing the existing 15km, 220kV Weinviertel line with a new 380kV link, capable of better integrating wind and solar projects in Lower Austria, the country’s northeastern-most state.

Austria’s wind power association, IG Windkraft, told Windpower Monthly the country has a backlog of more than 500MW of wind farms, which had received permits, but were unable to secure a tariff and be connected to the grid.

APG chief technical officer Gerhard Christiner added that a lack of transmission capacity last year led to a curtailment of excess wind energy in Austria for the first time.

Projects

The operator plans to start four years of construction works for the Salzburg line in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Austria’s federal administrative court approved the Salzburg Line last month — more than six years after the plan was first submitted.

Christiner added that the 380kV would enable the integration of a "massive expansion of renewable energies such as wind and photovoltaics into the electricity grid".

APG plans to start expanding the existing network in Upper Austria in 2025, ahead of planned operations in 2027, and aims to begin construction of the Weinviertel line in summer 2019 before commissioning it in 2022.

The transmission system operator forecasts a gap of up to 3GW between electricity generation and consumption by 2030.

"Until the technologies currently being developed — such as large-capacity battery storage or sector coupling — can actually be used, the transmission network is the most important flexibility option," it added.

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