Reisseck II: It’s Half Time at Austria’s Largest Power Plant Construction Site


All excavation work has been successfully concluded in the mountain; start of the machine assembly.

"Saint Barbara’s Day" saw the successful completion of excavation work in the mountain being celebrated at Austria’s highest power plant construction site. In addition to the large power plant cavern for the new VERBUND pumped storage power plant of Reisseck II, an extended system of tunnels was also blasted in the mountain in the space of two years. Spring 2013 sees the start of assembly of the hydroelectric generating sets; commissioning will take place in autumn 2014.

For what is the third time following the start of construction in autumn 2010, yesterday – 4 December – saw almost 200 miners celebrate the traditional "Saint Barbara Day" at the VERBUND power plant construction site of Reisseck II, located high above Carinthia’s Möll Valley. "Not only is Reisseck II currently Austria’s largest power plant construction site, but also its highest. The conclusion of the excavation works means that the 385-million Euro project is running according to schedule. Assembly of the hydroelectric generating sets for this powerful pumped storage power plant is now beginning in the power plant cavern," said Michael Amerer, CEO of VERBUND Hydro Power AG, on the occasion of the Saint Barbara Day celebrations in the power plant cavern.

Also employed was a 220-meter-long and more than 800-ton tunnel boring machine, which was assembled at 2,200 metres above sea level. In addition to the large power plant cavern, with its height of 39 metres, an extensive tunnel system, with a total length of just under nine kilometres, has been blasted or milled into the mountain in the space of two years. This year’s "Saint Barbara" also symbolised the successful conclusion of the comprehensive excavation works for the pumped storage power plant, which has been constructed entirely in the mountain.

The 385-million Euro project is running according to the schedule; commissioning will take place in 2014

During the course of the coming years, heavy load transporters will deliver the main components up into the power plant cavern, where they will be installed. Upon completion, the power plant has access to two powerful pump turbines, motor generators, as well as block transformers weighing more than 200 tons each, which are being installed in a special transformer cavern in the interior of the mountain.

During the power plant operation, Reisseck II will cover peak electricity requirements by means of water from the upper dam reservoirs, located at 2,300 metres above sea level, being fed into the turbines in the mountain at 1,600 metres above sea level. On the other hand, if, during periods of low consumption, more electricity is available in the European grid than is required, Reisseck II can then be switched to pump operation and water pumped out of the lower balancing reservoir and back into the upper reservoir. "In this way, the new pumped storage power plant will be able to accommodate the generation of some 200 large wind power plants and thus, as a "green battery", make an important contribution to grid stabilisation, as well as to the supply security in Austria," says Michael Amerer.

The total investment for the 430 MW pumped storage power plant of Reisseck II, amounting to 385 million Euro, is jointly carried by VERBUND, Kelag and Energie AG Upper Austria. Austria’s most modern pumped storage power plant will be commissioned in 2014.