Melk Run-of-River Power Plant

The Melk run-of-river power plant is on the Donau at the gateway to the Wachau region in Lower Austria.

The Wachau is considered to be one of the most picturesque river valleys in Austria and is a popular destination for cyclists, hikers and those with an interest in culture. The power station on the Danube – in the immediate vicinity of Melk Abbey – blends harmoniously into the landscape. 

By generating 100% hydropower, the Melk power plant makes an important contribution to maintaining the ecological conditions in the region. The bird sanctuary and the gravel islands in the old course are a valuable retreat for waterfowl and also inspire visitors cycling by. A leisure paradise and a new recreation area have thus been created around the old course.

Since 2007, a newly built fish bypass has been in operation at the Danube power station Melk. It is an important part of the LIFE project “Networking Danube - Ybbs”, which was carried out together with the Province of Lower Austria and with the support of the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism (BMLFUW) and the EU.


A guest in Melk lock

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Image from the Location

Owner VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH
Operator VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH
Commissioning 1982
Type Run-of-river power plant
Country Austria
Region Lower Austria
Waters Danube
Output 187 MW
Annual output 1,235,288 MWh
Turbine Kaplan
Connectivity Fish bypass
Environmental protection at VERBUND

Ecology & environmental protection

Since 2007, a newly built fish bypass has been in operation at the Melk power station on the Danube. This is a 2,040 metre-long bypass channel, which is laid out as a near-natural stream.  In addition, an extraction structure was erected in the headwater to provide additional water resources as a way of maintaining continuity in the event of flooding.
New gravel banks on the Ybbser Scheibe form the connection to the successful LIFE+ Donau-Ybbs network project..
The main objective of this measure was to improve the ecological conditions of the water, in particular for the reproduction conditions of those species of fish that require gravelly shallow water zones.
Responsible treatment of the environment
Fish bypass

Technical description

Turbines and generators: The plant consists of 9 sets of machinery with Kaplan bulb turbines, each with an output of 22,300 kW and a swallowing capacity of 300 m³/s. The 9 generators with 24 MVA- each have a nominal voltage of 9 kV.

Weir system: The weir baffles are equipped with pressure segments with weir gate.

Lock system: The two lock chambers are equipped with guillotine gates at the upstream end and mitre gates at the downstream end.

Pump stations: The Melk plant has pump stations at Marbach, Krummnußbaum, Klein-Pöchlarn and Pöchlarn.

The power plant was built between 1979 and 1982 with the financial participation of Energie AG Oberösterreich, Salzburg AG, VKW and EVN in a low-profile design.

Hydro consulting from VERBUND