Eco-electricity for 35,000 households in the surrounding areas of Bruck and Graz: VERBUND has invested 60 million euros in the three year modernisation of the largest hydropower plant on the Mur river. In the new central power plant in Pernegg one can also find the VERBUND control centre for Styria, which is operated around the clock and is where all large hydropower plants in Styria are controlled from.
When the power plant in Pernegg, which is south from Bruck an der Mur, went into operation in 1927 it was the highest performing run-of-river plant in the whole of Austria. For more than 80 years the power plant delivered reliable renewable electricity from hydropower. In 2010 VERBUND began one of the largest power plant modernisation operations in Austria, in Pernegg. During the three year renovation period, the listed power house received a completely new interior life with three new machine units as well as the most modern control systems and electronic control systems.
With today's ceremonial opening in Pernegg, the biggest hydropower plant on the Mur river will be connected to the grid. As the sole power plant on the Mur river, Pernegg has three large Kaplan turbines at its disposal. The power plant supplies renewable energy to the regional grid and generates the annual electricity requirement for 35,000 households in the areas of Bruck/Mürzzuschlag and the surrounding areas of Graz.
The Pernegg control centre controls all the large hydropower plants in Styria
VERBUND has invested 60 million euros in the modernisation of this significant power plant facility, which at the same time is the central power plant of the VERBUND power plant group in Styria. All big Styrian hydropower plants are controlled from the Pernegg control centre. The VERBUND power plant group in Styria operates 42 hydropower plants. On top of these there are also the high-performance storage power plants, such as the ones in Hieflau or Sölk as well as the large run-of-river plants on the Enns and Mur rivers and the power plant in Leoben. These power plants form the backbone of electricity production in Styria. The annual production in the VERBUND Styrian hydropower plants is 2.5 billion kWh, which corresponds to the electricity consumption requirements of all private Styrian households.
After the extensive renovations to the power plants in Hieflau, Gralla and Pernegg, VERBUND is making further investments of 170 million euros to modernise the Styrian hydropower plants. The increase in efficiency of the Graz Mur power plant Weinzödl has just begun, as both the turbines and generators have been changed.
Continuously running machines in retirement: The Pernegg turbine display gives an insight into power plant history
VERBUND has built a reproduction true to the original of one of the three historical machine units, which is displayed in a new exhibition building on the Pernegg power plant site. The turbine was built in St. Pölten in 1927 and was transported to Pernegg via railway to the power plant construction site. After its installation, the machine remained in operation for more than 600,000 hours over 80 years. Together with many historical photos of the construction of the power plant, the new turbine display at the Pernegg power plant offers insights into the history of generating electricity from hydropower.
Along with technical innovations, extensive ecological measures were put into place around the power plant: thus as part of the structuring measures in the reservoir area, seven near-natural islands with a surface area of around 2,500 m2 were filled in and the banks of the headrace were lined with stone fill. Furthermore, the residual water flow of the Mur river in the area of the power plant has been increased and modified according to the natural conditions.