More Power for Ybbs-Persenbeug
In time for Christmas, Austria’s oldest Danube power plant is receiving the first of six new Kaplan impellers. In the coming years, VERBUND, Austria’s leading electricity company, is to invest a total of 144 million euro in increasing site efficiency. The modernisation secures the annual supply for an additional 22,000 households. At the end of the programme, the Ybbs-Persenbeug power plant is to supply more than 1.4 billion kilowatt hours of domestic CO2-free power. It therewith represents an important part of the base load supply in Austria.
Impressive new Kaplan turbine
Following modification of the 7th and most recent unit in the Ybbs-Persenbeug power plant, 2012 signalled the start of the modernisation and renovation programme. Within the scope of the programme, complete reconditioning was undertaken on the six older hydroelectric generating sets, which had already been employed for more than 400,000 hours of operation.
Following comprehensive preparations and assembly – counting among the most spectacular of the works was certainly the excavation of the imposing individual components, such as the rotor, stator and impeller hub – the replacement of the first "old" Kaplan turbine is now on the agenda. At present, the shiny new impeller, with its diameter of 7.4 metres, is being assembled and – quasi as a Christmas present for the power plant – being lifted into position even before the new year.
144 million euro investment in domestic hydropower
"Amounting to144 million euro, this major measure not only serves for the modernisation of a Danube power plant that is important for Austria’s power supply, but it also enables us a considerable increase in efficiency - with additional productivity during economically difficult times. This corresponds to an average power plant on the Salzach or Mur. Furthermore, we are able to make a valuable economic contribution and to secure jobs in the region," explained Michael Amerer, commercial director at VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH. "Hydropower is currently the only form of renewable energy that must do without subsidies, but which is competing internationally with renewables such as wind and photovoltaics. Unfortunately, the current situation on the power market is not favourable to major new developments. We are therefore concentrating on increasing efficiency at existing sites. After Aschach, Ybbs-Persenbeug is the second Danube power plant that will be undergo a comprehensive optimisation," said Amerer.
6 % more production through sophisticated technology
"We are proud that, with Austrian engineering know-how and Austrian machinery suppliers, we have again been able to significantly exceed our already ambitious goal of site optimisation," explained Karl Heinz Gruber, technical director of VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH. "By means of a combination of regeneration of all machine components, all generators and transformers, in conjunction with the latest control technology, we are managing to achieve an added future power plant productivity of 77 million kilowatt hours. This represents a quarter more than originally planned. A 6 % increase in efficiency is already more than remarkable for the Danube power plant and makes a significant contribution to the achievement of targets in times of the energy turnaround," said Gruber.
A power plant with history
After the Second World War, Ybbs-Persenbeug counted among the prestige projects of the reconstruction in Austria. With a capacity of 236.5 megawatts, it is the fourth largest Danube power plant in Austria. With an annual production of 1.336 billion kilowatt hours, it avoids the emission of 1.1 million tonnes of CO2 every year. During the construction period between 1954 and 1959, the power plant was a popular destination for high-ranking foreign delegations.
Ybbs-Persenbeug today provides a popular spot for excursions on the Danube bike trail. During the years of reconstruction, visitors can have a safe look at the new turbines over the shoulders of the workers.