Network development plan 2020
In times when - due to climate change - more and more processes are based on energy from electricity, the secure and reliable supply of electricity is becoming increasingly important. Electricity is the lifeline of society and economy. A reliable and secure power supply is needed to meet the growing demand for electricity.
In addition to the availability of sufficient generation capacities to meet the electricity demand at all times, appropriate grid capacities for the transmission and distribution of electricity must be available.
In the liberalized environment of the European electricity industry with the goal of an integrated European electricity market (cf. “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package of the European Commission) and in view of the changing general conditions, transmission grid operators are facing new challenges every day. Besides market-price-based power plant operation, rising electricity consumption, new power plants and above all, rigorous expansion of renewable energies significantly influence power flow and load in transmission grids. Overall, increasing and strongly fluctuating grid loads, congestions and, consequently, noticeably rising demands on electricity grids can be observed.
A powerful transmission grid infrastructure is the basis for a high security and reliability of electricity supply. The electrical transmission grid is the backbone of the Austrian electricity supply and plays a central role in ensuring supply and system security as well as in achieving the climate targets.
Grid Expansion Projects in the Network Development Plan 2020
At APG grid expansion is planned in a comprehensive and forward-looking process. This is necessary because of the long implementation periods of the projects that are key for providing the transport capacities required in the future. According to the Austrian Electricity Industry and Organization Act (ElWOG), the already approved NDP projects for the next three years (i.e. 2021 to 2023) have to be implemented on a mandatory basis.
The current version of the Network Development Plan (NDP) is based on the Ten Year Network Development Plan from ENTSO-E and on the NDP 2019 and lists which important transmission infrastructure components of the APG grid must be expanded. The NDP also includes grid planning of the transmission system for the next ten years (2021 – 2030) based on the forecasted developments of the energy sector.
The listed projects are categorized in projects of national and European interest as well as grid connection projects for customers (e.g. distribution grid operators, power plant connections, large industry). Grid connection projects for customers are submitted for approval in the NDP, provided that the necessary project requirements and sufficient planning security are given.
During the consultation period from mid-June to mid-July 2020 all relevant market participants had the opportunity to submit comments on the NDP 2020.
After examination and consideration of these comments APG submitted the NDP 2020 to E-Control Austria (ECA) for approval at the beginning of September and received its approval end of November.
Extensive grid reinforcement and expansion measures have to be implemented in Austria by 2030 to meet the outlined challenges. The projects described in the APG Network Development Plan 2020 include:
- New transmission line projects comprising approx. 230 km line length
- Conversion of 110 km of transmission lines to a higher voltage level
- Reinforcement and reconstruction of 400 km of existing transmission lines
- Construction and expansion of numerous substations with approximately 150 switchbays at voltage levels of 380/220/110 kV
- Construction of approximately 30 transformers with a total capacity of approx. 12,000 MVA
- Extensive line coordination and optimization measures are being implemented within the context of major projects, e.g. the total line length can be reduced by 65 km in case of the 380-kV Salzburg line and by 15 km in case of the Weinviertel line
- Extensive reinforcement/refurbishment measures of 110kV and 220kV substations and lines
Necessary framework conditions for grid expansion and reconstruction in Austria
An essential factor for the implementation of the necessary reinforcements of the transmission grid is the duration of approval procedures. These are currently very complex (federal and provincial legislation) and hence time consuming. Moreover, additional specific factors (including human resources in the administrations or experts in charge of the proceedings) delay the approval procedures.
In order to eliminate these deficits and to implement the electricity and energy system transformation in Austria it is necessary to accelerate the network expansion, which has already been greatly delayed (cf. Salzburg line). Therefore the following framework conditions must be improved (cf. also NDP 2020, Chapter 1.6):
- Amendment of the Austrian General Administrative Procedures Act (AVG, Allgemeines Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz) in order to shorten the duration of proceedings and in terms of a central tool for regulating procedures (large-scale and EIA procedures), as well as adaption of the Act to the internet age
- Public and political acceptance of the necessity to expand and refurbish the grid infrastructure as basis for ensuring security of supply and achieving the climate and energy targets of the Austrian Federal Government
- Harmonization of and appropriately defined thresholds for approval procedures
- Protection of existing and planned routes (e.g. no new buildings underneath)
The completion of the projects in the Network Development Plan (NDP) 2020 and of other projects as well as the associated expansion of grid capacities are essential prerequisites for accomplishing the Austrian climate and energy strategy. In addition to integrating renewable energy sources into the grid, the focus is on ensuring a high level of supply security and reliability, grid and system security and the further development of the electricity market in Austria.
EU climate targets
PCI – Projects of Common Interest
The European Union has set ambitious targets in its 2050 Energy Roadmap. The Roadmap envisions long-term, sustainable decarbonisation without jeopardising security of supply, quality of life or the quality of Europe as a business location. The EU has also established a comprehensive funding programme for grid development in the knowledge that the electricity transport networks are not yet sufficiently prepared for such a fundamental transformation in generation structures.
The funding programme defines and provides financing for around 100 Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) that are of primary significance in reaching the EU’s climate targets – above all the integration of renewables – and for energy security and integration of the internal electricity market. Targeted funding initiatives – such as improving and harmonising approval procedures and enabling alternative financing instruments – aim to ensure accelerated implementation of grid expansion projects.
APG’s PCI Projects
The following APG projects have been selected as Projects of Common Interest by the European Commission, thus giving them PCI status:
The 380-kV Salzburg line will close the gap in the 380-kV Austrian ring between the nodes at St. Peter and Tauern. Substations connecting to the regional 110-kV distribution grids will be integrated into the line, which will significantly improve the security of supply to the Upper Austria and Salzburg distribution systems. In addition, storage power plants in southwest Austria will be connected with wind farms and demand centres in Austria and the rest of Europe. Without the Salzburg line, it would not be possible to develop additional pumped storage potential or to integrate Austria’s wind farms into the grid to the extent needed.
PCI No.: 3.1.2
TYNDP16 No.: Project 47/Investment 216
NDP16 No.: 11-10
Project operators: Austrian Power Grid AG
Project type: internal 380-kV line
Implementation period: until 2020
Project region: Upper Austria, Salzburg
Starting from the node at St. Peter and extending to the German border, a new 380-kV line will replace the two existing 220-kV lines to increase interconnection capacity between Germany and Austria. The 380-kV “Germany line” will permit flexible, market-based interaction between Austrian pumped storage power plants and wind farms in the north of Europe, for instance, as well as between producers of renewable energies and customers in both countries. The 380-kV Germany line will enable greater capacities to be exchanged between Austria and Germany. It will also increase system security and security of supply.
PCI No.: 3.1.1
TYNDP16 No.: Project 47/Investment 212
NDP16 No.: 11-7
Project operators: Austrian Power Grid AG /TenneT TSO GmbH
Project type: 380-kV AT – DE interconnector
Implementation period: 2019–2021
Project region: Upper Austria, southern Germany (Bavaria)
The Inn Valley axis in western Austria between the two substations in West Tirol and Zell/Ziller will be linked to APG’s planned 380-kV ring via a high-performance connection. New line construction technology is being evaluated for upgrading the existing line. The increase in capacity on the West Tyrol – Zell/Ziller line is an important factor in advancing the integration of renewables into the grid, enabling connections to pumped storage power plants and developing the market. Together with the 380-kV ring and its connections to the transmission grids of our partner TSOs in Europe, the high-capacity Inn Valley axis forms part of the APG target grid laid out in the 2030 Master Plan as well as the basis for future security of supply.
PCI No.: 3.1.4
TYNDP16 No.: Project 47/Investment 219
NDP16 No.: 14-3
Project operators: Austrian Power Grid AG
Project type: upgrade to an internal line
Implementation period: 2023
Project region: Tyrol (Inn Valley)