Secure power supply with the power of the Danube

5/5/2020Abwindes-Asten, Wallsee

VERBUND employees at the Danube power plant Abwinden-Asten successfully completed the inspection work at the beginning of May while complying with all COVID-19 precautionary measures. The hydropower plant is thus fully ready for action again and is constantly and reliably contributing to the safe, clean and affordable supply of electricity in Austria. Further down the Danube, at the VERBUND power plant Wallsee-Mitterkirchen, maintenance work is ongoing in the left-hand ship lock, mainly to make it available again for transport shipping.

“We’re out there daily so that everything inside runs,” says Kurt Schauer, the operating engineer responsible for the inspections at all four Danube power plants in Upper Austria, referring to the VERBUND motto. “Our employees carry out careful maintenance day and night to ensure uninterrupted operation and secure the electricity supply in Austria. 
Schauer continues: “Our power plant teams are divided into smaller groups to minimise the risk of infection. They work apart from each other and at staggered working times. This has worked very well so far and the inspection works at the Danube power plant in Abwinden-Asten were successfully completed, and continued pretty much without problem in Wallsee-Mitterkirchen.”

Abwinden-Asten fully in use

Since the end of April, the Danube power plant Abwinden-Asten has reliably been generating electricity from hydropower again for almost 300,000 private households. The power plant teams have been working full of energy since the middle of February, despite the crisis-related restrictions on the turbine. Machine 7 of a total of nine Kaplan turbines was thoroughly overhauled, the cooling circuit converted from an open to a closed cooling circuit; additionally, the installation of electrical systems and their integration into the control technology were completed. The entire machine set including generator with stator and the hydraulic system was checked, cavitation damage to the impeller repaired and corrosion protection applied, seals on the turbine shaft replaced and leaks stopped. 

Ship ahoy again soon in Wallsee-Mitterkirchen

The major overhaul of the ship lock at the Danube power plant Wallsee-Mitterkirchen has been ongoing since the end of October 2019. The separate power plant teams are still beavering away on the left-hand lock chamber. The entire lock structure (hydraulic steelwork) and the mortise gate are being refurbished, the filling and emptying structure repaired and leaks stopped, the ship impact protection renewed, damage to the upper and lower heads rectified, corrosion protection applied and much more besides. “We’re also paying special attention here to the physical and temporal separation of our own staff and the staff of external companies,” informs Schauer. “These extensive revitalisation works are very labour-intensive.” In the first weeks of May, the VERBUND divers will again help to remove the stop logs. With that, the maintenance works will then also be complete. 

The Danube as the basis for 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 the generation of electricity, the output of the heavy turbines stabilises the 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

Media Spokesperson for Generation

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