(Partial) cabling in the Austrian high voltage ring: irresponsible experiment

5/6/2008Wien

Feasibility studies carried out by KEMA Dresden do not stand up under inspection. (Partial) cabling in the Austrian 380 kV ring is not the best available technology. VerbunD-Austrian Power Grid AG (APG) cannot take responsibility for an experiment of this kind.

In the past weeks, APG and renowned experts have painstakingly analysed the feasibility study by KEMA Dresden. 
"We were not able to go along with the conclusion reached by KEMA Dresden. The cable variant presented in the feasibility study is a long way from fulfilling the specific requirements of the Salzburg line as central component of the Austrian 380 kV high-voltage ring. The feasibility study has irresponsibly raised hopes," according to Thomas Karall. 

VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG (APG) today presented their statement on the KEMA Dresden's "Feasibility study for the entire or partial cabling of the 380 kV St. Peter – Tauern line" to the Salzburg federal state government.

"As the largest Austrian power grid operator by statutory appointment, we hold the main responsibility for the maintenance of supply security in Austria. Included in this appointment is the safe, efficient, effective and environmentally correct operation of the Austrian high-voltage grid," said APG directors Dr. Heinz Kaupa and Thomas Karall in outlining their position. "We are reliant upon long-term planning; our promises must be kept."

All cables are not the same
"It is especially important to us to make it clear that a (partial) cabling of the Austrian high-voltage ring would carry risks, which we cannot take responsibility for," said Kaupa. "We are integrated in the relevant bodies of transfer mode systems worldwide. The findings flow into our planning." In certain functions and applications – such as in the power grid, for example – cables are not applied worldwide for good reason. The existing "prototypes" operate in a way that is anything but faultless: e.g. during 1.5 years of operation, the Milan cable has already had three lots of damage with a total outage of four months. Information from Berlin is particularly alarming: in February 2008, a 220 kV cable exploded – the defect has not yet been found; operating approval has been suspended (status: 30 April 2008).

A solution for the ring, which does not sufficiently meet with the safety requirements, would have serious implications. In the worst case, the result would be outages of hours or days on end, as well as market restrictions and reductions in the supply of renewable energies, and therewith a clear reduction in the development of Austria as a business location, as well as that of Salzburg.

"We are happy to explain our criticism in detail to the country's experts. Naturally, we are continuing to strive for a consensus-oriented solution and will seek an intensive dialogue with the inhabitants of Salzburg.  It is our wish to seek solution models together and to carry out awareness training in order to develop a safer and technically feasible solution that can guarantee the supply security," said Kaupa and Karall in conclusion.