Schwabeck Run-of-River Power Plant

VERBUND's Schwabeck power plant is a run-of-river power plant situated on the Drava River and north of the municipality of Lavamünd in Carinthia.

The VERBUND power plant Schwabeck is a run-of-river power plant on the Drava, to the north of the municipality of Lavamünd in Carinthia. It was built between 1939 and 1943. In order to increase the plant’s power output, the easternmost of the four weirs was converted into a fourth machine set in 1995, enabling the maximum output of the power plant to be increased from 60,000 to 79,000 kW. Europe’s tallest fish bypass (fall height of 21 metres) has been in operation at the Schwabeck power plant since 2015.
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Owner VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH
Operator VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH
Commissioning 1943
Type Run-of-river power plant
Country Austria
Region Carinthia
Waters Drava
Output 79 MW
Annual output 374,759 MWh
Turbine Kaplan
Connectivity Fish bypass
Environmental protection at VERBUND

Ecology & environmental protection

The technical fish bypass at the Schwabeck power plant overcomes a height difference of more than 20 metres between the headwater and tailwater and is currently considered to be the tallest fish bypass in Europe. An important point was the undercrossing of the existing connection between the power station and control room. The fish ladder had to “dive under” a suitable distance on the narrow bounded area between the headwater and distribution structure as far as the crossing of the barrier. A multi-structure slot basin pass consisting of 158 basins with 21 additional resting pools was built. A very low flow speed enables easy transition, especially for juvenile fish and weaker-swimming species of fish such as the European bullfish.

The functionality of the fish bypasses on the Drava is continuously monitored. This is supported by a video monitoring system – the so-called FishCam – developed jointly with the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences. The migrating fish are captured visually, identified and subsequently recorded in a database and professionally evaluated.

More about fish bypasses

Turbines and generators: Turbines I to III, built in 1942, are vertically installed Kaplan turbines with a maximum output of 27,200 PS each. The directly coupled 22,000 kVA generators have a rated voltage of 10,000 V. The fourth machine set installed into a weir field at a later date is designed as a propeller turbine – i.e. similar to a Kaplan turbine, only with fixed turbine blades.

Weir system: Three double hook gates serve as weir gates for the weir fields still in use, which have a width of 18.75 metres each and are separated by 5-metre-wide piers. The middle weir field was converted to a fourth machine set in 1995.