The new engine at VERBUND's Inn power plant at Gars is becoming reality: Essential components like the turbine casing and the control device have already been built in.
Hydropower is one of the most sustainable forms of energy. VERBUND is optimising its run-of-river plants, using the existing potential. Hence, the existing power plant of Gars am Inn is being equipped with an additional engine, in order to generate more eco-friendly energy in future. May 2011 was the start of construction, and, since then, a lot has happened on the construction site. The turbine casing, weighing 42 tons in total, was delivered and incorporated together with the air intake plating and the control device. In autumn, the core piece of the engine will follow: the Kaplan turbine. The new construction of the Gars plant constitutes VERBUND's expansion of the Inn power plant group and, hence, investment into the expansion of Bavarian hydropower. An important phase has now been reached in the construction of the Gars engine: pre-assembly. "Andritz company has lifted in the 42-ton turbine casing, the air intake plating and the control device," is the information disclosed by VERBUND project manager. "The lifting in, assembly and fine-tuning is high-precision work, which was completed in a competent and unproblematic manner in collaboration with our partners."
The delivery of the heavy power plant components from Ravensburg in Southwest Germany proved to be particularly challenging. Thus, numerous train crossings had to be conquered and veritable artistic feats accomplished during the transportation along the narrow access road to the Inn power plant. "It all worked fabulously, the transporters displayed true professionalism," Mandl says.
The core piece is to arrive in autumn
Preassembly will take around two to three weeks, in which these essential components will be integrated into the structure. Concrete-pouring works in the turbine area and remaining steel hydraulics construction works will ensue. "Then, in two to three months time, main assembly can begin," project manager Mandl says happily. "That's when the core piece, the turbine, will be delivered and built in." Trial operation for the engine is planned for March 2013.
More electricity from domestic hydropower
The revitalisation of existing power plants represent an important supplemental measure to VERBUND's expansion plans and a building block for the environmentally friendly utilisation of domestic renewable resources. In 2004 and 2009, two plants compliant with the Renewable Energies Act (EEG = Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz) were commissioned in Jettenbach and Wasserburg respectively, each with a capacity of 5 megawatt, which will generate an annual amount of electricity for 4,000 households. The expansion of VERBUND Inn power plant of Gars by means of an additional engine is a further step in this direction, which is also confirmed by the latest study on Bavarian electricity supply in 2022 by Professor Thomas Hamacher of Munich Technical University, whereby it will be possible to generate 14 percent more hydropower.
In their investigation, energy scientists surrounding Hamacher have come to the conclusion that the expansion of generation capacities like water, wind, photovoltaics and biomass is urgently needed and that, by 2022, 50 percent of the electricity produced in Bavaria could come from renewable energy sources.
VERBUND Innkraftwerke GmbH employs some 200 employees and operates 13 run-of-river plants on the Bavarian Inn with a total capacity of 312 megawatt. The annual output amounts to over 1.8 billion kilowatt hours, which corresponds to the needs of more than 470,000 households. This volume of hydroelectricity also means avoiding more than 1.5 million tons of CO2 per year, in comparison to a modern hard coal power plant.