Powering the energy Transition
Continuing to expand the power grid is crucial to the success of the energy transition. APG’s investments in the grid are laying the foundation for the further development of renewable energies.
The Power Grid of Tomorrow
Sustainable and optimised grid concept
APG plans the expansion of its grid with an eye to future needs, taking trends in Austria’s energy market as the basis. Pursuant to Section 37 of the 2010 Austrian Electricity Industry and Organisation Act (ElWOG 2010), the company is legally obliged to coordinate its grid expansion projects with the operators of the distribution grids and all relevant market participants on an annual basis. To this end, APG’s Network Development Plan (NDP) presents all key transmission infrastructures that will require expansion over the next ten years. The NDP also includes a list of investments that have already been approved as well as projects that will need to be implemented within the next three years.
The strategic basis: the APG Master Plan
The NDP is based on APG’s 2030 Master Plan, which covers the period from 2013 to 2030. Building upon future energy market scenarios, the Master Plan defines the steps necessary to expand the APG grid to meet the 2030 targets and also includes a forecast of possible developments in the electricity sector up to 2050. The Network Development Plan is based on sound scenario assumptions and detailed grid analyses as well as the grid access projects requested from APG by market participants.
APG’s target grid concept: the 380-kV ring
The APG target grid concept foresees creation of a 380-kV ring in Austria. The planned 380-kV ring will connect all load centres (large cities and metropolitan areas) with the major generation units (renewable and conventional power plants) and facilitate the sustainable integration of renewables into the grid. In creating a high-performance grid infrastructure, APG focuses on the principle of grid optimisation and reinforcement before expansion. Accordingly, opportunities to optimise the grid must first be exhausted (e.g. upgrades to existing power lines and routes) before planning new power line routes.
Total investment volume
The NDP foresees an investment volume of around €2.5bn over the next ten years. According to studies conducted at the Graz University of Technology and the Vienna Institute for Industrial Research, approximately 70% of that amount will remain in Austria. Thus, implementation of the NDP will not only secure Austria as a business location over the long term, but will also act as a significant economic stimulus. For every one billion euros invested, 10,000 jobs will be created in Austria. APG’s current projects are described below.
Network Development Plan 2018
In times of digitalisation and cross-linking as well as the unlimited availability of information in data networks, a secure, reliable power supply is becoming more important every day.
The functioning of our society is bound to an economically feasible as well as permanently available electricity supply. In addition to the availability of sufficient generation capacities to meet the electricity demand at all times, corresponding grid capacities must also be available for the transmission and distribution of electricity.
In the liberalised environment of the European electricity industry and with a goal of an integrated European electricity market (cf. "Clean Energy for All Europeans" package of the European Commission), in the face of changing general conditions transmission grid operators are facing new challenges every day. Besides the market price-based power plant operation, rising electricity consumption, new power plants and, above all, locally concentrated implementation of volatile renewable energies (e.g. wind energy) significantly influence power flux and load in transmission grids. Overall, increasing and strongly fluctuating grid loads and consequently noticeably rising requirements for electricity grids are reported.
A powerful transmission grid infrastructure is a basis for a highly secure, reliable electricity supply. It represents a backbone of Austrian business and a basic requirement for the further development of renewable energy and attainment of Austrian and European energy and climate protection goals.
The Network Development Plan (NDP) is a legal requirement (in accordance with § 37 ElWOG 2010) and is based on the Ten-Year Network Development Plan from ENTSO-E, on the NDP 2017 and on the APG Masterplan 2030. By publishing this plan, APG informs all market participants about the important transmission infrastructures in APG's transmission grid that need to be upgraded or expanded.
The NDP contains a list of investments that have already been decided upon, as well as projects that must be implemented in the next three years. In addition, the NDP presents plans for the transmission system for the next ten years (2019 – 2028) on the basis of the development forecast for the energy sector. The projects presented in the NDP are categorised into projects of national and European interest and network connection projects.
During the consultation period from end of June to end of July 2018, all relevant market participants had the opportunity to submit comments on the NDP 2018. After APG had processed and checked the comments on the NDP, it was submitted to E-Control Austria for approval at the end of August. The approved NDP was published at the end of 2018.
Extensive grid reinforcement and expansion measures will have to be implemented in Austria by 2028 to meet the challenges outlined. The projects described in the APG Network Development Plan 2018 include:
- New transmission line projects extending over approx. 220 km
- Conversion of 100 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. 11,000 MVA
- Extensive line coordination and optimisation measures are being implemented within the framework of major projects, e.g. the 380-kV Salzburg line, leading to the removal of ca. 400 km of old, low-capacity lines
- Furthermore, extensive reinforcement/refurbishment of substations and lines is planned
The processing of the projects described in the network development plan will require a major effort both from APG and the authorities responsible for approvals.
A significant factor for the implementation of the necessary reinforcements of the transmission grid is the duration of permitting procedures. These are currently very complex (federal and provincial legislation) and hence time consuming. Moreover, additional specific factors (existing or planned routes not or insufficiently secured; diverging limit values in the area of noise and/or EMFs; no separate authorisation system for the upgrade of power lines; lack of standard public participation process; capacity bottlenecks, including human resources in the administrations or experts in charge of the proceedings) delay the approval procedures.
In order to eliminate these deficits and, hence, implement the energy transition in Austria in a sustainable fashion, the following federal framework conditions have to be improved:
- Equality of the transmission grid with road and rail in terms of authorisation process aspects and standardised public participation process
- Harmonisation of limit values for commissioning and operation
- Implementation of the principle "Upgrade before new construction" – simplified procedure for upgrading (e.g. from 220 kV to 380 kV)
- Protection and clearance of existing routes (e.g. from substructures) and planning corridors (cf. current regulations in the road area)
- Clarification of the public interest of projects in the Network Development Plan
- Definition of system-relevant conventional (base-load) power plants and regulatory classification.
EU climate targets
Projects of Common Interest (PCIs)
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)
An upgrade to the grid in Carinthia will close the 380-kV ring in Austria, with all the associated advantages. Closing the 380-kV ring will ensure long-term security of supply and system security in Austria, as well as create a redundant connection between the RES feed-in systems in eastern Austria (especially wind and solar) and the load centres in the central Alps with their pumped storage power plants. The upgrade will establish a high-performance connection from the Austria regions, major power plants and demand centres to TSO partner networks. New line construction technology is being reviewed for the upgrade of the existing line.
PCI No.: 3.2.2
TYNDP16 No.: Project 26/Investment 218
NDP16 No.: 11-14
Project operators: Austrian Power Grid AG
Project type: upgrade to an internal line
Implementation period: 2025
Project region: Carinthia, East Tyrol