VERBUND, Austria’s leading electricity company and operator of the Danube power plants, invited the inhabitants from the local area to an Open Day on 29 September 2012. The mayor of Aschach an der Donau, Friedrich Knierzinger, as well as VERBUND plants group manager, Reinhard Kremslehner, greeted the approx. 4,000 guests and festively opened the celebrations with the traditional tapping of the beer keg.
Almost 50 years of clean electricity from hydropower
The Open Day offered those inhabitants living in the nearby area the unique opportunity to also take a look at the interior of the power plant. During a guided tour through the power house and weir system, the visitors - among whom were numerous children and adolescents - satisfied themselves that electricity doesn’t just simply come for the power socket.
Numerous attractions around the VERBUND power plant entertained guests of all ages: a competition and a diverse children’s adventure world completed the entertainment offer. Food and drink, as well as Aschach brass band contributed to a convivial atmosphere for the approx. 4,000 guests. Proceeds from the food and drink went to the benefit of the voluntary firework of Aschach an der Donau.
Aschach power plant
Aschach power plant was constructed from 1959 until 1964 as the second Austrian Danube power plant between the Sauwald plateau and the Mühlviertel region. It comprises four vertical Kaplan turbines, five weir fields and two navigation locks. The power plant dams up the Danube to a height of 14.9 m (expanded drop height) and has the greatest drop height of all the Austrian Danube power plants.
Located in the power house, which lies in the middle of the power plant between the lock (right bank) and the weir system (left bank), are four hydroelectric generating sets with vertical shafts, each comprising a Kaplan turbine and each fitted with a three-phase generator. Two smaller hydroelectric generating sets (equally with vertically installed Kaplan hydro generating sets and B turbines) generate the electricity for the plant’s auxiliary power supply.
The most powerful Kaplan turbines in Western Europe
Aschach is the most powerful of the power plants on Upper Austria’s Danube and, since completion of the 2010 renewal of the hydroelectric generating sets, counts among the best and most efficient in whole of Europe.
Following more than 40 years of operation, the four hydroelectric generating sets in Upper Austria’s largest Danube power plant have undergone renovation. Rotors with greater efficiency have been installed to the tune of approx. 40 million Euro. The diameter of the new rotor amounts to 8.6 metres. This major overhaul represents an increase in efficiency of approx. 69 Mio. kWh, which corresponds to the annual requirement of some 19,000 households and is comparable with the power production of a small run-of-river power plant.
The plant annually produces an average of approx. 1.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity from domestic hydropower, which equates to the annual requirement of some 490,000 households. In comparison to a modern coal-fired power plant, more than 1.3 million tons of CO2 are saved annually with the renewable energy from Aschach.
Energy and the environment
The zones of shallow water created in the power plant reservoir area offer a habitat for a diverse flora and fauna: The "Halbe Meile" and "Schmiedelsau" biotopes make an important contribution to the conservation of the biodiversity.
An average 350 tons of debris are fished out of Aschach reservoir every year. Two trash rack cleaning machines ensure the removal of flotsam such as wood, plastic bottles, footballs, car tyres or also curious things such as garden benches and much more.