Company History

VERBUND has been closely linked to the Austrian State for decades. If the company first served as a powerful "electric motor" during the reconstruction phase of the country following the Second World War, it has since developed into a company of European dimensions following Austria's accession to the EU in 1995.

When VERBUND was founded in 1947 as the "Österreichische Elektrizitätswirtschafts-AG" on the basis of the 2nd Nationalisation Act, electricity too was a scarce commodity in Austria. In this situation, VERBUND was assigned by the legislature the task of rebuilding and expanding Austria's electricity system.
With the help of the Marshall Plan, important projects such as the hydropower plants at Kaprun and Ybbs-Persenbeug could be implemented during the first years. 

The "Roaring Sixties" saw further large-scale power plants joining the grid: Aschach (Upper Austria) and Wallsee-Mitterkirchen (Upper/Lower Austria), two large Danube power plants; as well as Mayrhofen (Tyrol), the main stage of what would later be Austria's most powerful storage power plant group.
Nuclear power seemed to promise a way out of the energy crisis in the 1970s; however, it was never implemented in Austria. The Zwentendorf nuclear power plant was scarcely finished when the population voted against its commissioning in a referendum in 1978. As a result, the government incorporated the renunciation of nuclear power in the Constitution – this represented a major rupture in the energy policies of the Second Austrian Republic.

Both the government and the electricity industry quickly opted for greater energy security through the expansion of hydropower. So three Danube power plants were built in the seventies, including the largest in Altenwörth (Lower Austria); as well as the Malta (Carinthia) storage power plant, which has the highest dam in Austria.

1988 was an important year for VERBUND, as 49% of the company was privatised in the course of entering the stock market, and VERBUND took over the federal government's shares in the special purpose companies (such as Donaukraft, Tauernkraft or Draukraft).

For Austria's electricity industry, the building freeze of the Hainburg power plant project in 1984 seemed to mark the end of large-scale power plant construction – particularly in the hydropower sector.

By the end of the 1990s VERBUND acted according to still-future EU regulations, such as the unbundling of the business sectors of the "production" and "transmission" of electricity in line with corporate law. Even prior to the turn of the millennium, VERBUND was well-positioned for a complete opening up of the electricity market, which was implemented in Austria in 2001 and which became an EU-wide reality in 2007.

Toward the middle of the decade, VERBUND had business relationships in more than 20 countries and had more than 13 subsidiaries or shareholdings at its disposal in Europe, as well as one in Turkey.

In 2007, VERBUND expanded its activities with further renewable energy sources and started to make massive investments, especially in wind power.
The global economic crises and massive upheavals in the energy market affected VERBUND, as well. In particular the reduction in wholesale prices for electricity, coupled with a drop in demand due to a weaker industry, led in 2010 to a decline in the group result. As a result, VERBUND has strengthened its focus on the core markets in Austria and Germany, on energy production from water and wind power, as well as on new services. At the end of 2010, VERBUND exchanged its shares in Turkish assets for the Bavarian hydropower plants on the Inn River, and in 2013, VERBUND purchased the shares of the cross-border power plants on the Inn and the Salzach Rivers.

Today VERBUND is greatly expanding its offerings in energy-related services and energy efficiency products, and is offering innovative solutions for domestic industrial and commercial enterprises as well as for private households. In the production segment, attention is being focussed on increasing efficiency and on the comprehensive ecological enhancement of all power plants.

Milestones of our history

  • Construction of the Limberg dam in Kaprun

    The storage power plant in Kaprun was completed in 1952, thanks to tremendous commitment and financial support from the Marshall Plan.

    Legendary reconstruction

    The storage power plant in Kaprun was completed in 1952, thanks to tremendous commitment and financial support from the Marshall Plan.

  • Kaplan impeller for the Danube power plant Ybbs-Persenbeug

    Following interruption due to the war, construction on the power plant was resumed in 1954 and completed in 1959.

    Ybbs-Persenbeug, Austria's oldest Danube power plant

    Following interruption due to the war, construction on the power plant was resumed in 1954 and completed in 1959.

  • Danube power plant Aschach

    In the 1960s, expansion of hydropower on the Danube ranked as a high priority.

    Aschach, still today Austria's most powerful power plant on the Danube

    In the 1960s, expansion of hydropower on the Danube ranked as a high priority.

  • Pelton impeller in Mayrhofen in the Zillertal Valley

    This pumped storage in Tyrol established the basis for the system of base-load and peak-load generation, which guarantees a reliable power supply.

    Mayrhofen in the Zillertal Valley: the heart of the most powerful power plant group

    This pumped storage in Tyrol established the basis for the system of base-load and peak-load generation, which guarantees a reliable power supply.

  • Construction of the Malta dam in Carinthia

    Energy security through the use of pumped storage power plants was the motto of the 1970s. With the construction of the Kölnbrein dam, Austria's highest dam wall came into being.

    A construction site of superlatives: the power plant group Malta-Reisseck

    Energy security through the use of pumped storage power plants was the motto of the 1970s. With the construction of the Kölnbrein dam, Austria's highest dam wall came into being.

  • In 1985, the Danube power plant at Greifenstein set a milestone for ecological standards. The newly laid-out "Giessgang" (a system for supplying water to alluvial areas that would otherwise run dry due to the power plant) has by now become a nature paradise.

    Greifenstein: unity of nature and technology

    In 1985, the Danube power plant at Greifenstein set a milestone for ecological standards. The newly laid-out "Giessgang" (a system for supplying water to alluvial areas that would otherwise run dry due to the power plant) has by now become a nature paradise.

  • Danube power plant Vienna Freudenau

    Following a referendum with an overwhelming majority, the last Danube power plant was built from 1992 to 1998.

    Freudenau, Europe's only power plant within a city with over a million inhabitants

    Following a referendum with an overwhelming majority, the last Danube power plant was built from 1992 to 1998.

  • Substation of the Austrian Power Grid AG

    With the separation under corporate law of its grid subsidiary in 1999, VERBUND was the first company to fulfil the new EU competition regulations.

    The power grid, backbone of supply reliability

    With the separation under corporate law of its grid subsidiary in 1999, VERBUND was the first company to fulfil the new EU competition regulations.

  • Tunnel boring machine during construction of Limberg 2

    The expansion of pumped storage power plants, such as Limberg II, makes it possible to compensate for varying electricity amounts from wind and solar power.

    Pumped storage, indispensable partners for the energy revolution

    The expansion of pumped storage power plants, such as Limberg II, makes it possible to compensate for varying electricity amounts from wind and solar power.

  • Wind farm in Bruck an der Leitha in Lower Austria

    In 2007, VERBUND supplemented its electricity generation with wind energy from eastern Austria.

    Bruck an der Leitha, Austria's best wind energy area

    In 2007, VERBUND supplemented its electricity generation with wind energy from eastern Austria.

  • Power plant Toeging in Bavaria, on the Inn River

    In 2010, VERBUND exchanged its Turkish holdings for tradition-steeped hydropower on the Bavarian Inn River.

    Toeging, a jewel on the Inn River

    In 2010, VERBUND exchanged its Turkish holdings for tradition-steeped hydropower on the Bavarian Inn River.

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