The last-instance decision issued by the environmental tribunal marks the formal end of the marathon approval process for the 380 kV Styria line: On 14 February 2007, the environmental tribunal gave VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG (APG), Stromnetz Steiermark GmbH and BEWAG Netz GmbH the green light for the construction of the 380 kV Styria line. The appeal decisions therefore brought the process to a successful conclusion and certified the environmental compatibility of the project.
The Styria line is the most extensively examined infrastructure project in Austria
Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Heinz Kaupa, Technical Director at APG: "In view of the complexity of the project, we knew right from the outset that this approval process in accordance with the Environmental Impact Analysis Act would be an enormous challenge not only for those implementing the project but also for all the authorities involved. The importance of restoring security of supply was always our prime concern. Now that the approval process for the 380 kV Styria line has been completed in an extremely conscientious manner, this is the most extensively assessed infrastructure project of its kind: the result of this process namely, the positive construction decision to which a large number of conditions are attached, guarantees that the project will be implemented such that the interests of people and the environment are harmonized in the best possible manner."
Specific ecology-related conditions
The conditions imposed relate, above all, to accompanying measures in the ecological areas whereby the numerous conditions attached to the decision in the first instance were confirmed, altered or supplemented. Dr. Christian Onz, the attorney representing APG, Stromnetz Steiermark GmbH and BEWAG Netz GmbH, confirms: "The appeal decision issued by the environmental tribunal, the authority in the last instance, brings the assessment process to a successful conclusion. The extraordinary length of this process is testimony to the conscientious manner in which the environmental tribunal conducted its duties."
Styria line will restore security of supply in Styria
In view of the importance of the 380 kV Styria line, APG will, in consultation with the project partners, immediately commence with the preliminary pre-construction measures. The tendering process for the construction work has already commenced. Kaupa: "The decision of the environmental tribunal is of great significance for electricity supply in Austria. In the last years, security of supply could only be maintained through the implementation of comprehensive and costly emergency measures and the imposition of market restrictions. We will now make every effort to complete the Styria line as quickly as possible."
Corresponding easement agreements were already concluded with a large number of land owners prior to the decision of the environmental tribunal. In addition, many land owners have agreed to sign the easement agreements in the event of a positive EIA decision in the second instance. All easement agreements are based on the framework agreement which was drawn up with the Chambers of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management in the provinces of Styria and Burgenland. Dipl.-Ing. Otto Wanz, Project Leader of the Styria line: "Our primary aim was and is to implement the Styria line in close cooperation with all citizens. We shall also make every effort to pursue this approach in the future."
Commissioning of Styria line planned for 2009
If the implementation of the project commences without delay and the construction work is completed according to schedule, the urgently needed 380 kV Styria line should be commissioned in the first half of 2009 from which time it will make an essential contribution to security of supply in Austria.