High risk to grid safety and development of renewable energies


On 18 November 2008 VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG (APG) has given its response to the Amendment draft to the Salzburg Federal Energy Act. The Amendment draft enforces cabling in the 380 kV ring. APG strongly advises against the amendment assuming serious consequences.

The existing overhead line concept developed jointly between VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG (APG) and Salzburg AG envisages - amongst other things - a future-proof grid reinforcement with a simultaneous net line reduction of net 100 km in the Salzburg regional grid. This concept would be rendered invalid with the new amendment to the Energy Act. This would mean: a new planning schedule, an immense loss of time, no dismantling of existing lines, high legal risks.

APG is lobbying to close the gap
APG rejects the designated changes in the law since these regulations will make the construction of the 220/380 kV overhead line in Salzburg virtually impossible. In keeping with its responsibilities, APG will vehemently continue to put all of its efforts into closing the gap in the Austrian high voltage ring and the rapid implementation of this on the basis of tried and tested overhead line technology. Without investment in the grid infrastructure, not only will it be especially impossible to realize many hydropower projects, envisaging the development of energy production from renewable energy carriers as well as the increased use of wind energy.

Additional costs must be carried by the consumer
At the same time APG adheres to its conviction - supported by expert opinions and decisions - that a cabling on a partial stretch of the 380 kV ring would be a highly risky "experiment". Furthermore, the overhead line concept developed jointly with Salzburg AG would cost around 372 million Euro (of which around 170 million Euro are purely line construction costs), whilst the costs would be increased by around 1.5 to 2.0 billion Euro with the amendment to the Bill. These additional costs would have to be paid for by the consumers via their electricity bills.

"Having undertaken a professional examination of the KEMA report on the cable issue, we compiled our in-depth response and presented it to the provincial government in May of this year. To date, there has been no reaction to this. Instead, the cable statute has been placed in front of us without our arguments and doubts being eliminated. Besides the question of legitimacy of the amendment under constitutional law, cables do not represent the cutting-edge of technology for the 380 kV ring today - an amendment to a Federal Act cannot change this," stressed APG chairman Heinz Kaupa.

Appeal to the provincial government
"Our focus is on the issue of grid safety - we do not have any leeway here. However, enormous additional costs will ultimately arise and - the question is - will these be approved by the regulator, and will these be paid for by the other federal provinces? We therefore ask the provincial government to rethink this step and to refrain from making an overhasty statutory provision," said APG chairman Thomas Karall.