Substation Lienz prepared for the future: APG invests 30 million Euros to secure supply in East Tyrol

New large power transformer has arrived: the state-of-the-art plant component will facilitate the integration of green energy in the Austrian transmission grid

Nußdorf-Debant/Vienna, September 28, 2020: Austrian Power Grid (APG) is modernizing the substation Lienz in Nußdorf-Debant: in the context of a 30-million Euro investment scheme Austria’s TSO will considerably improve the supply of electricity in the region of East Tyrol. Moreover, a new transformer will increase the system stability and reliability for all of Austria and facilitate the nationwide utilization of climate-friendly wind energy.

Secure supply for the next decades

“The substation Lienz is the only transmission hub in APG‘s nationwide 380/220-kV high voltage grid to ensure supply all of East Tyrol. Thus it is particularly important for the electricity supply of the region,” says Wolfgang Ranninger, who is the project manager and responsible for coordinating the construction works. And he continues: “After almost 60 years of operation, parts of the facility are in dire need of restoration or replacement. Since autumn 2016 we are thus step by step renewing the 220-kV facility through which the regional transmission lines of TINETZ-Tiroler Netze GmbH are being fed with power from the nationwide APG grid – so that also during the next decades enough electricity will come out of the sockets for all households and businesses.“ The construction time is projected with six years. The time lost due to the lockdown in March caused by the corona pandemic has already been caught up explains Ranninger: “From today’s point of view nothing will get in the way of the completion of the project in autumn 2022 according to schedule.” The dimension of the modernization project becomes obvious when looking at the building area of 38 hectare which corresponds to five and a half Champions’ League soccer fields.

167 ton heavy-weight transport: transformer delivered in three parts

A new 380/220-kV large power transformer (LPT) for 7.5 million Euros is one element of the mega-project. Due to its dimensions it had to be transported in three parts, so-called “transformer banks” with a weight of 167 tons and a length of 7 meters each, by railway from the Siemens factory in Weiz (Styria) via a direct side track connection to the location of the substation. “Two of the three transformer banks have already arrived during the past few weeks and been placed on their baseplates. Today the third and last part arrived and was also placed on its baseplate which required four hours of precision work,” says Ranninger about the construction activities in September.  “After successful installation of various high-voltage components and cooling systems the three transformer banks will be connected to form the LPT which will be operated as one unit. The overall weight at this moment will total 816 tons. The state-of-the-art components are scheduled to be ready for use as of June 2021.”

Substation Lienz: important for East Tyrol and Austria as a whole

Conditions of the power supply industry have changed considerably over the past decades, and until 2030 clean and green electricity is supposed to cover 100 percent of Austria’s consumption. Ranninger explains: “With the new transformer APG will secure the stability of the system all over Austria and at the same time facilitate the nationwide distribution of climate-friendly wind energy since the new transformer strengthens the connection between the storage power stations Malta and Reißeck (Carinthia) as well as Kaprun (Salzburg) in the west of Austria and the wind power plants in the east.” Surplus wind power which is not being used locally can thus be transported over long distances and conveniently stored. As the need arises the electricity can be retrieved from the storage power plants and used all over Austria wherever it is needed. The substation is also important for the international transport of electricity as it acts as 220-kV interface after Soverzene in Italy.

Grid expansion and modernization is the order of the day: 350 million Euros for energy transition and domestic economy

In 2020 the investment volume of all APG construction projects will total 350 million Euros, which, according to an ECONOMICA study, generates an added value of 205.7 million Euros in Austria. Christoph Schuh, APG’s company spokesperson, states: “Every euro that is generated in the construction industry produces another 2.4 euros of added value in other economic sectors. With every invested million a small business with about 9 employees can be created or saved.”

Christoph Schuh also emphasizes the urgency of the situation: “All APG grid expansion, modernization and maintenance projects are crucial for reaching Austria’s climate targets and indispensable cornerstones for guaranteeing the republic’s security of supply. Delays would seriously jeopardize a successful energy transition and the decarbonization of the economy and industry and threaten positive economic effects.”

Press images - © Stabentheiner Michael