Austria’s minister of economy and energy, Reinhold Mitterlehner, and the Bavarian minister of state for economy, media, energy and technology, Ilse Aigner, met on Friday in Kaprun, in the company of a delegation of experts, in order to agree a closer energy policy collaboration between Austria and Bavaria. The programme also included inspection of the pumped storage power plant Limberg II, as well as a visit to the apprenticeship workshops in Kaprun of the power plant operator, VERBUND.
Declaration of a joint energy policy
During the meeting, the two ministers signed a joint declaration for the intensifying of energy supply collaboration. Furthermore, there followed an intense discussion as to how the current challenges could be jointly resolved:
"A long-term secured, financially feasible and sustainable energy supply is decisive for the economic sites of Austria and Bavaria," stressed Mitterlehner and Aigner in the joint declaration. "We commit ourselves to a further expansion of renewable energies and to the improvement of energy efficiency."
Both countries also wish to increasingly use the opportunity to act as Europe’s "green battery". "In addition to strong networks, pumped storage power plants primarily make an important contribution because they balance out the fluctuations of photovoltaics and wind on account of their availability at short notice. The alpine region therewith has access to the potential to become Europe’s energy platform," said Mitterlehner. Bavaria and Austria have the goal of continuing the supply security in neighbourly cooperation as cost effectively as possible and guaranteeing environmental sustainability for the general public and the economy. Relevant issues here are: cross-border capacity allocation for the increase of supply security in Austria and Bavaria, the retention of joint price zones in the interest of electricity customers and the expansion of the power infrastructure. The massive pan-European expansion of renewable energy carriers also necessitates an expansion of the distribution network.
"The motto of the energy turnaround in Bavaria is: Secure, affordable and clean power supply. Austria is the ideal partner for this. In particular, I anticipate an even closer collaboration in connection with pumped storage power plants. For the stability of the power grids, pumped storage power plants are currently of special importance to us," said Minister of State Aigner.
"Bavaria and Austria have been cultivating an intense energy partnership for many years now. With the new cooperation treaty, we wish to further intensify the cross-border collaboration and jointly promote important issues. The energy turnaround must also be better coordinated throughout Europe in order to be sustainably successful," said Mitterlehner.
Wolfgang Anzengruber, VERBUND CEO: "VERBUND is a leading, environmentally friendly power supplier in Europe. We operate more than 100 hydropower plants, 22 of which are in Bavaria, and are therewith the largest hydropower energy supplier in Austria and Bavaria. We are delighted by this strengthening of the energy policy cooperation. Collaboration among neighbours is the best way into a sustainable energy age."
For further intensification of the energy partnership, Austria and Bavaria will pursue the energy policy declaration at an expert level. To this end, an Austrian-Bavarian Energy Congress will take place in Munich on 1 December 2014.
VERBUND power plant group of Kaprun
The Kaprun pumped storage power plants have a total capacity of 833 MW and annually generate some 700 million kWh of electricity. The total operation is overseen from the central control room in Kaprun. Autumn 2011 saw the opening of the pumped storage power plant of Limberg II with a capacity of 480 MW.
Apprenticeship training at VERBUND
VERBUND, Austria’s leading electricity company and one of the largest suppliers of energy from hydropower in Europe offers outstanding opportunities for the future in the form of its four-year dual apprenticeship training "Electrical and Mechanical Engineering".
Since 1948, VERBUND has trained more than 2,500 apprentices. In the first year, they receive their theoretical and practical training in the optimally equipped VERBUND apprenticeship workshops of Ybbs-Persenbeug, Kaprun and Töging. As early as the second year of apprenticeship, the apprentices gather concrete experience in a VERBUND power plant. In the vocational school, they annually complete ten weeks of apprenticeship in the most diverse modules in the area of electrical and mechanical engineering.
1 September 2014 again saw 30 apprentices begin their training in the dual profession of electrical and mechanical engineering at 20 sites in Austria and Bavaria, 10 of which are in the apprenticeship workshops of Kaprun. At present, a total of 57 apprentices are being trained in Kaprun (classes of 2011-2014).
Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth
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