VERBUND, Austria’s leading electricity company and operator of Bavaria’s Inn power plant, has today, in the presence of representatives from Bavarian politics and economics, ceremonially opened the new 5 MW power unit at the Gars power plant on River Inn. With an investment volume of 20 million euro, the Gars power plant is supplying an additional 3,400 households with electricity from renewable hydropower and therewith contributing to Bavaria’s energy concept.
Among the some 200 guests were Martin Zeil, Deputy Prime Minister and Bavarian Minister of State for Economics, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology, and Dr. Marcel Huber, Bavarian Minister of State for the Environment and Health, as well as Erwin Schneider, head of the neighbouring district authority of Altötting, and Mayor Norbert Strahllechner from Gars, among many others.
"With the construction of the new power unit in Gars, VERBUND is providing a further important impetus for the entire development of renewable energy sources in Bavaria," said Dr. Ulrike Baumgartner-Gabitzer, board director responsible for hydropower at VERBUND AG, on the occasion of the ceremonial opening of the new Gars power unit on Upper Bavaria’s Inn. "Through this project, VERBUND is supporting the Bavarian state government’s energy goal of increasing electricity generation from hydropower to meet 17 % of Bavaria’s electricity requirement by 2021," said Baumgartner-Gabitzer. The entire power plant group is making an important contribution to the safe and clean supply of electricity in Bavaria.
The new construction of the 5 MW power unit will increase the annual generation at the Gars site by 13.7 million kilowatt hours to a total of 170 million kilowatt hours of electricity. In terms of the site, this means an increase of almost 9 %. With the new power unit, the plant park of VERBUND Inn power plants comprises 14 power plants with a total capacity of 317.2 MW and an annual generation of 1,889.5 million kilowatt hours.
At the same time, Karl Heinz Gruber, managing director of VERBUND Innkraftwerke GmbH, is not only proud of the technical achievement, but also the execution of the construction: "In just 25 months, during the ongoing operation of the existing power plant, we have been able to construct and commission the new power unit. Despite substrate problems and flooding, the time and cost schedule has been adhered to and today, following an approximately two-year construction period, the new Kaplan turbine has started operations and has since been producing environmentally friendly electricity from clean, domestic hydropower. Together with our Bavarian partners and contractors, a total of 115,000 man-hours has been spent on the construction of the building and the installation of the hydroelectric generating set."
Through the utilisation of the existing transverse structure it has been possible to keep interference with nature to a minimum. The new construction is rounded off by several important accompanying ecological measures: Restructuring of the Nasenbach, backwater dredging in the surrounding wetlands, improved fish spawning grounds and new habitats for the flora and fauna. Autumn 2013 should also see the start of a left-bank bypass channel for the ecological passage flow at the Gars site.
A stimulus for the regional economy
Michael Amerer, managing director of VERBUND Innkraftwerke GmbH explained the key data with regards to the economic effects: "The entire investment for the Gars power unit project lay at approximately 20 million euro, to which the accompanying ecological measures are still to be added. Our awarding of contracts has shown that more than 80% of the value creation will stay in the region. In addition, the power plant operation and its maintenance will in future safeguard existing jobs in the region and mean new jobs and annual contracts for regionally based small and medium-sized businesses".
More electricity from domestic hydropower in Bavaria
For VERBUND, the increased efficiency of existing plants and the measured expansion are important building blocks for the environmentally friendly utilisation of the domestic renewable resource of hydropower. As early as 2004 and 2009, two "EEG" (Renewable Energy Act) plants - with a capacity of five megawatt apiece - were commissioned at the sites of Jettenbach and Wasserburg.
Open house at the VERBUND Inn power plant of Gars
On 29 June 2013 an open day took place from 10.00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m. at the VERBUND site of Gars. The open day programme can be found here: www.verbund.com/mediathek