Secure power supply from the Danube

4/2/2020Ottensheim, Aschach

Especially given the present situation, the constant availability of electricity and its stable generation from the Danube really matters. Despite the restrictions caused by the crisis, VERBUND employees successfully completed the maintenance tasks at the Danube power plant Ottensheim-Wilhering in Upper Austria. The run-of-river power plant is ready for use and contributes to the secure supply of electricity in Austria. At Upper Austria’s most powerful hydropower plant in Aschach, the overhaul of the weir system is still ongoing, in order to be prepared for possible flood events in the late spring.

Danube power plants need regular maintenance – comparable to a car service. At run-of-river power plants, these overhauls take place in winter, when the rivers deliver little water. In difficult conditions, the VERBUND staff continued work at the two Danube power plants this week. For safety reasons, the teams were divided up to minimise the risk of infection. The power plant teams work in two separate teams and stagger working times.

Ottensheim-Wilhering back online

At the end of March, Turbine 3 at the Danube power plant Ottensheim-Wilhering came online again and has since been reliably supplying electricity to over 245,000 private households. Despite the restrictions, the power plant staff worked urgently on Turbine 3 divided into teams with staggered working times. The entire machine set including hydraulic system was checked, corrosion protection applied, seals replaced at the turbine shaft and impeller casing, leaks remedied and the open coolant circuit converted to a closed coolant circuit. 
The overhaul at Ottensheim-Wilhering has been under way since the beginning of 2020: “Our employees are work really hard to ensure the generation of electricity. We are ensuring fault-free operation with this careful maintenance,” says Richard Kremslehner, plant group leader for the four Danube power plants in Upper Austria about the secured supply of electricity for Austria.

Aschach soon fully ready for use

At Upper Austria’s more powerful Danube power plant in Aschach, work is still in full swing. Weir field 2 has been undergoing a major overhaul here since the middle of September 2019. VERBUND staff and external companies are working spatially separated at staggered times on the general overhaul of the entire hydraulic steelwork and corrosion protection. The work being done here includes welding and repairs, while new running rollers and electric motors for driving the upper and lower gates are being installed. The work will continue until the beginning of June 2020. “What matters here is that we will be done before any flood events in the summer, so that the power plant will be fully operational on time,” says Kremslehner. 

The Danube as the basis of Austria’s electricity supply

The stable endurance runners on the Danube are accorded special importance: 20% of Austria’s electricity requirement comes from the nine Danube power plants. That roughly corresponds to the consumption of every household in the country. Over the last year, average generation was 2% above the long-term average, despite the dry weather.  VERBUND employees ensure safe operation around the clock. In addition to generation, the output of the heavy turbines stabilises the electricity grid. When wind and sun feed electricity into the grid quickly and occasionally erratically, the reliable frequency of hydropower provides stability.

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Florian Seidl Florian Seidl

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