"The current heat-wave is not only hard for Austrians to cope with; in the long-run, it represents an endurance test for Austria's electricity supply grid," Dr. Heinz Kaupa, Chairman of the Board of VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG (APG), explained on 17.7.2007. At the moment there is no risk to supply. By means of foresighted line management and a project for monitoring the warming of the lines, APG has taken good preventative measures.
"There is practically no difference between the electricity consumption during a severe winter and the midsummer any longer," Kaupa said. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the electricity demand during the summer months – due to the use of air conditioning and energy-intensive cooling equipment, an increased energy demand arises during the hot summer months and the power grids are taken to their breaking point. Thus, the APG's power output of the sub-grids rose by 7.7 % from summer 2006 to 2007 (figures from June).
In recent years, APG focused on the line maintenance and has conducted extensive work to keep the lines free in order to ensure the necessary distance to objects (e. g. trees) during the course of taking these obviating measures. Furthermore, a surveillance system has been built in the 220 kV line of Vienna-South-East/Ternitz in the form of a pilot project in which the cable temperature and sag is continually controlled by the operators. "By means of this project, we prepared ourselves on time for 'hot periods,'" declares Kaupa. The monitoring of lines has revealed important new findings for the controlling of grids and for the project planning of new plants.
In future, APG intends to install more of such surveillance facilities to allow a direct reaction in case of increased grid loads, and also to be prepared for temperature fluctuations.
"As a power grid operator, it is our duty to guarantee a safe electricity supply and to be prepared for such situations even under extreme circumstances. A major improvement in supply security – also during extreme temperatures – can only be attained by building the 380 kV Styrian line and the closing of the 380 kV ring via Tauern/Salzburg/St. Peter," concluded Kaupa.