“Green Battery”: New cavern power plant at 2,300 metres above sea level


VERBUND is constructing the pumped storage power plant Reißeck II plus on the Reißeck lake plateau.

Start of construction at the Reißeck lake plateau in Carinthia: VERBUND CEO Michael Strugl and tunnel patron Provincial Councillor Sara Schaar performed the tunnel-breaking for the Reißeck II pumped storage power plant today in the presence of other guests of honour and the implementing construction company. VERBUND is currently investing 160 million euros in the modernisation and expansion of the Malta-Reißeck power plant group in Carinthia, in order to be able to temporarily store the increased electricity generated from renewable energies as a means to meeting future demand.

By the year 2030, 100% of electricity generation in Austria on a balance sheet basis should come from renewable sources of energy. The increased expansion of renewable electricity production is also increasing the need to balance out this weather-dependent, fluctuating electricity production as efficiently as possible: “The existence of large, flexible pumped storage power plants is fundamental for the success of the energy transition towards a CO2-free electricity supply. With the new Reißeck II pumped storage power plant, we at VERBUND are strengthening the green battery in the Alps,” said VERBUND CEO Michael Strugl today at the Reißeck lake plateau, high above the Mölltal valley in Carinthia, on the occasion of the tunnel-breaking for the new pumped storage power plant.
Reißeck II plus is being constructed entirely inside the mountain as an underground power plant and, as an addition to the Reißeck II power plant commissioned in 2016, will utilise the difference in height between the two Mühldorf lakes on the Reißeck lake plateau. Two modern pump turbines with a total output of 45 megawatts can store renewable energy when excess electricity is generated and convert it back into electricity when there’s a shortage. VERBUND COO Achim Kaspar: “It is precisely these large-scale plants that make it technically possible in the first place to integrate volatile forms of generation while maintaining the system stability that is so important for prosperity here in Austria.” 

The construction work inside the mountain was started today with the tunnel-breaking ceremony. The symbolic tunnel-breaking, the first detonation, was performed by tunnel patron Provincial Councillor Sara Schaar: “The most important function of this future power plant will be to bring rapidly accessible energy to the grid. It will therefore be an important building block when it comes to covering electricity peaks and ensuring grid stability,” said Provincial Councillor Sara Schaar, wishing all miners and people involved in the construction a healthy and accident-free time.

Renovation and expansion of the Malta-Reißeck power plant group creates new storage capacities for green electricity

To achieve even better use of existing resources, VERBUND is implementing extensive modernisation measures across the entire Malta-Reißeck power plant group in parallel with the Reißeck II construction project: “The 40 year-old pump turbines in the Malta Upper Stage power plant and pumps in the Malta Main Stage power plant are currently being replaced, and the more than 60 year-old Hattelberg pumping station is being replaced by a modern pump in the Kolbnitz powerhouse,” said Karl Heinz Gruber, Managing Director of VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH. “Together with the initial operation of the Reißeck II underground power plant scheduled for the end of 2023, the entire Malta-Reißeck power plant group will have a turbine capacity of more than 1,500 megawatts and thus be the most powerful power plant group by far.”
With the expansion and efficiency-increasing measures, the “green battery” in Carinthia will be able to provide flexibility for the electricity system even faster and more powerfully in future. And all this without new dams, entirely underground and with a range of environmental measures: “What we are creating here in the region with a total investment of 160 million euros is not only new technical dimensions, but also an important boost for the local economy,” said Michael Amerer, Managing Director of VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH. “It is worth noting that this amount will deliver an economic stimulus of an additional 100 million euros, with a large share of this in Carinthia and Austria.”


Robert Zechner

Spokesperson Region South

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