Stadtwerke Schwaz and VERBUND today affirmed their cooperation on the Unterer Tuxbach power plant construction project in the presence of Vice Governor Josef Geisler, by signing a declaration of partnership. Already in September the supervisory boards of Stadtwerke Schwaz GmbH and VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH approved construction of the sustainable hydropower plant. The actual start of construction is planned for the spring of 2017.
Michael Amerer, Managing Director of VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH, emphasized the economic significance of the project for the region: "Ever since its first activities in the Zillertal Valley, VERBUND has seen itself as a partner of the region. We and our staff in the power plant group are deeply rooted in the Zillertal Valley. Already in recent years we have invested in the modernisation of our facilities on an ongoing basis, and we plan to continue this. Along with our partner, Stadtwerke Schwaz GmbH, we will expend approximately 60 million Euros on the Unterer Tuxbach project. That the region here will profit in the long-term as well is guaranteed not only by our day-to-day power plant operations, but additionally with the Zillertal Valley Contract II, signed in 2015, with the valley community holdings."
The energy and economical importance of the Unterer Tuxbach project was highlighted by Karl Heinz Gruber, Managing Director of VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH: "Here in the Zillertal Valley we are living out the future of energy. Already today, with our eight hydropower plants, we are generating 1.6 billion kilowatt hours of renewable, clean electricity from domestic resources, and with the Unterer Tuxbach project we will succeed in significantly boosting the efficiency and performance capacity of our power plant group yet again. With a unique constellation of facilities, we are able to continue on this path and realise a project for improving the ecological and economical efficiency, which at the same time is laying a foundation for the future supply reliability for the region and for Tyrol."
For Stadtwerke Schwaz, involvement in a hydropower plant directly in the Zillertal Valley is a forward-looking investment and therefore of great significance, as Hans Lintner, Mayor of the city of Schwaz, emphasized: "Stadtwerke Schwaz is an important regional partner for households and commercial and industrial enterprises. In this function it is important to us to obtain the electricity from regional and renewable sources. For this reason we are pleased to enter into a long-term partnership with VERBUND, which will significantly increase our domestic electricity portfolio."
"For us as well, as the VERBUND hydropower group, it is important and gratifying that we can strengthen our existing hydropower generation here in the Zillertal Valley for the future, in cooperation with regional partners. The facilities in the Zillertal Valley, in particular, are not only long-term, reliable, CO2-free electricity suppliers; the storage power plants in their function as ‘green batteries’ are also of great significance for the successful implementation of the turnaround in the energy policy, by efficiently and cleanly storing the volatile electricity from wind and sun, and feeding it back into the grid as needed" - namely just as the electricity customers need it, as Günther Rabensteiner, Board Member of VERBUND AG, is pleased to note about the project partnership with the regional public utilities and the province of Tyrol.
Vice Governor Josef Geisler: "Hydropower plays an essential role in Tyrol's energy strategy. With the Unterer Tuxbach power plant project we are coming another step closer to our goal of being energy-autonomous by 2050." Compared to the previous power plant, Bösdornau, the Unterer Tuxbach power plant will provide electricity for 20,000 additional households. "With the Unterer Tuxbach project, VERBUND AG is using the expansion potential for hydropower in the region and continuing the partnership-based approach of shared ownership with the Zillertal Valley to promote successful hydropower", Geisler says in praise of the project.
Unterer Tuxbach project
Water from the Stilluppbach Stream, the Tuxbach Stream and the Zemmbach Stream has been used for clean electricity generation in the Bösdornau power plant for nearly 90 years. For the time period following 2019, when the power plant's concession period will have expired, an ecological and economical succession plan has been developed and approved. To do this, an underground connection will be created between the Tuxbach Stream and the Stillupp reservoir, and at the end of the connecting passageway, at the junction with the reservoir, a green power plant with an output of approximately 1.7 MW will be constructed. By means of a unique combination of the new connecting passageway and linkage to the existing Mayrhofen power plant and the new Stillupp small hydropower plant, a total of 74 million kilowatt hours of domestic hydropower electricity can be generated annually - to provide more than 20,000 households with CO2-free electricity. Implementation of the project will take approximately 3 years. In the time leading up to the construction start in the spring of 2017, a number of preparatory measures will still be taken, including preparation of the construction site and awarding the contracts.