E-Control audit: underground cabling significantly more expensive


The audit presented by the energy regulatory authority E-Control on 18 January shows that the laying of an underground cable for the 380 kV Salzburg line would be much more expensive than an overhead line and that underground cabling is also not a technological alternative to overhead lines.

APG on the right track

The Verbund grid subsidiary Austrian Power Grid (APG) believes that the audit endorses the company's approach. Verbund has carried out extensive research on underground cabling over a long period and hence the results did not come as a surprise to Heinz Kaupa, Member of the Managing Board of APG. The approach and views adopted by Verbund have now been confirmed. One can now look with interest but also with confidence to the findings of the next study. On 28 January, the province of Salzburg will present the audit it commissioned to the Dutch company KEMA.

Underground cabling would involve enormous additional costs

The auditor commissioned by E-Control, the German professor Bernd Rüdiger Oswald from the Institute of Energy Supply and High Voltage Technology at the Leibniz University Hanover, calculated that the cabling of the entire 110-kilometer route would cost more than six times as much as an overhead line. The total costs (investment and loss costs) of cabling the entire route would come to € 1.18 billion compared to approx. € 190 million for an overhead line. Underground cabling (with four subsystems) would therefore increase costs by a factor of 6.2.

Cabling only part of the route would also significantly increase the costs: The utilization of underground cable for 50 % of the route would increase costs by a factor of 3.3  and if underground cable was only used over 9 kilometres - 8 % of the entire route - the costs would still be 1.4 times higher at € 262 million. At a press conference in Vienna earlier today Oswald stressed that these were modest calculations: "Anyone who has ever built anything will know that it is always going to be more expensive."

In reply, Kaupa stated that Verbund was not only concerned about the costs but also about grid safety and added that the company viewed the E-Control audit as a keynote study.