Pumped-storage power plant Limberg II ceremoniously commissioned
€ 405 million invested in expansion of green battery
Austria's position as the green battery of Europe has today been further strengthened. The pumped-storage power plant Limberg II was commissioned following an investment of € 405 million and a construction period of just five years. With immediate effect, the power plant will supply valuable balancing and control energy and will also increase the utilisation of unpredictable wind and solar energy.
As of today, a new chapter has been added to the history of hydropower from Kaprun. The pumped-storage power plant Limberg II, most of which lies underground, was commissioned within the framework of an official opening ceremony. In the course of the celebrations, Wolfgang Anzengruber, Chairman of the Managing Board of VERBUND, emphasised the significance of construction projects of this nature: "Renewable energies are a central focus throughout Europe – with the pumped-storage power plant Limberg II, we are showing what the Austrian contribution to Europe's energy future can look like."
Austria – the green battery of Europe
"VERBUND’s supporting pillar is – and remains – hydropower.. We use hydropower to generate CO2-free electricity and our pumped-storage power plants allow us to store electricity in an environmentally sound manner. Ulrike Baumgartner-Gabitzer, the member of the VERBUND Managing Board responsible for hydropower explains: "In their capacity as the 'green battery of the Alps', pumped storage power plants are able to balance the fluctuating supply of electricity from solar and wind power plants" and also underlines that the VERBUND power plants provide approx. six percent of the installed pumped-storage capacity in the European Union.
State-of-the-art hydropower technology
Karl Heinz Gruber, Member of the Managing Board of VERBUND Hydro Power AG, comments on the operational capacity of the power plant Limberg II: "The latest hydropower technology is employed in Kaprun. The pumped-storage power plant Limberg II uses the existing reservoir and optimally supplements the existing plants. As of today, the turbine capacity will increase from 353 MW to 833 MW. The capacity during pump operation will increase from 130 MW to 610 MW." Gruber quotes the following example to illustrate what can be accomplished with modern hydropower technology: "The two turbines can handle 144 m³ of water per second. This is more or less equivalent to the average flow of the Salzach at Golling. Alternatively, this volume of water is sufficient to fill 900 bathtubs per second."
Regional value added
Michael Amerer, Commercial Director of VERBUND Hydro Power AG commented as follows on the significance of Limberg II in terms of regional value added: " Limberg II is – also considering the Tauern Tunnel – the largest infrastructure project in recent years. We invested more than € 400 million in Kaprun. To put this in perspective: In 2010, investment in civil engineering in Salzburg amounted to € 386 million. In the years of construction, VERBUND accounted for approx. 20 percent of the civil engineering projects in Salzburg. We are especially grateful for the good cooperation with local industry and businesses. In the course of our projects, approx 30 percent of the project volume was awarded to companies located directly within the project region. In the case of Limberg II, this came to approx. € 120 million. And we are keen to invest further in Kaprun and Salzburg. The gap in the 380-kV ring must, however, first be closed prior to the construction of Limberg III."
Focus on ecology
VERBUND does not wish to focus solely on the generation of electricity from environmentally friendly hydropower. The Limberg II project clearly proves that numerous other factors also play a key role. Although the project was essentially realised inside the mountain, there were some inevitable consequences for nature and the environment. Thanks to comprehensive ecological planning, the necessary interventions did not cause any permanent damage or scars. The successful renaturalisation in the Alps resulted in pioneering achievements as it was previously believed that renaturalisation measures were practically impossible beyond certain altitudes.