VERBUND hails decision in favour of Salzburg Line


Electricity supply of Austria will be secured in the long term: "We are very happy with the quick, positive decision of the provincial governments of Upper Austria and Salzburg in determining that our project 'Salzburg Line' is environmentally friendly", Hans Haider, VERBUND General Director, commented Friday, 30 March 2007.

 "This brings us a large step closer to our goal of significantly modernizing and securing Austria's electricity supply through the completion of the 380 kV Austria Ring." For only two weeks ago the environmental tribunal had given the go-ahead for the Styria Line.

After five months of public negotiations, the authorities in charge, as first level of jurisdiction in the EIA process regarding the 46 km 380 kV high voltage transmission line from St. Peter near Braunau to Elixhausen, decided in favour of the environmental compatibility thereof.

"We are now counting on an equally positive decision on the part of the environmental tribunal, the appeal to whom has already been announced by the project's opponents", stated Heinz Kaupa, Managing Director of VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG (APG). "The new line will greatly increase the security of electricity supply of Salzburg and Upper Austria, who procure a large percentage of their power supply from the supra-regional grid." Moreover, more transmission line km – namely, 64 km – will be dismantled than newly constructed, since old systems can be taken over by the new Salzburg Line. Investment costs amount to 100 million Euro.

The notice of approval for the "Salzburg Line" constitutes a certification that, in every one of the 22 inspected specific areas – from spatial planning and tourism to protection of the waters to environmental medicine –, the projects meets with the EIA regulations' strict authorization requirements. The authorities have also confirmed the urgency of the matter, as well as APG's position regarding the implementation of the project as an overhead line: Technological, economic and ecological reasons definitely advocate the construction of an overhead line rather than an underground cable.

"The notice will now be submitted to the respective authorities and the local municipalities for public inspection," APG project management team Hubert Keller and Rudolf Wanzenböck describe the next procedural steps. Should the decision be appealed against, the matter will be taken to the next appellate level, namely, the environmental tribunal. By law, this will take another six months, so that, by the end of this year, a legally binding decision will be available so that construction can begin.