During the course of this afternoon, all 18 VERBUND power plants on the Mur will be reconnected to the grid. It had been necessary to shut the hydropower plants down on account of the weekend’s flooding. In close cooperation with the authorities, fire brigades and the disaster management service, VERBUND was on duty around the clock with 70 experts in order to manage the floodwater on the Mur.
As early as the previous Friday, VERBUND power plant group of Styria spearheaded measures to handle the strong rainfall that had been forecast. At Styria’s largest reservoir power plants, measures were taken to reduce the reservoir water levels in order to make the greatest amount of reservoir capacity available for the expected volumes of water. At 2.00 a.m. on Saturday morning, all small feeder streams were cut off in order to be collect the rapidly rising water volumes from the Sölk valleys. These security measures proved highly successful because, in Sölk reservoir alone, it was possible to retain 1.2 million cubic metres of water that would otherwise have uncontrollably endangered the locality of Stein, as well as other municipalities on the Enns. At this point in time, the VERBUND power plant group had already manned all power plants on the Enns in order recover dozens of tonnes of debris from the river.
70 VERBUND employees held floodwater at bay; supervision was carried out via Pernegg control room
Whilst the power plants on the Enns were able to continue operations, the swelling of the Mur meant that the major run-of-river power plants had to be removed from the grid during the course of Saturday. VERBUND operates 18 hydropower plants on Styria’s Mur, the weir systems of which had to be reinforced by teams of workers. Coordination of the Mur power plants was carried out via the VERBUND control room in Pernegg, which cooperated closely with the authorities, the emergency rescue squads and the disaster management service. Thus, on Saturday afternoon, it possible to prevent even larger scale flooding in the region of Mixnitz, where the Mur had already risen above the banks at several points. At Pernegg power plant, the flood crest was recorded at 8.00 p.m. on Saturday.
Protective measures for Graz: precision work with weir flaps weighing tons
Particularly demanding was the controlling of the middle section of the Mur, after the disaster management service raised the alarm of "imminent danger" on Saturday at 5.30 p.m. for the residential area to the north of Graz. The task was to sink the water level at Weinzödl power plant to the north of Graz, whilst simultaneously raising the water level on the Mur in the area of the Kepler bridge (Graz) by a maximum 30 centimetres. This protective measure was also successfully carried out by the VERBUND employees. Despite the ebbing away of the floodwater, the mission is not yet over for the VERBUND power plant group. Following exhaustive cleaning and controls of the machines, all 18 run-of-river power plants on the Mur are currently being reconnected to the grid. VERBUND operates a total of 41 hydropower plants in Styria, the annual production of which is able to cover the entire electricity requirements of all of Styria’s private households.