Salzburg line
Salzburg Line: Supreme Administrative Court Confirms Approval for 380kV Transmission Line
Final and explicit judicial decision regarding the most important infrastructure project in Austria.

(Vienna/OTS) – “Today is a good day for the energy transition and the security of power supply in Salzburg and Austria as a whole. With today’s Supreme Administrative Court ruling the approval for the country’s most important energy infrastructure project was explicitly re-confirmed“, says APG’s CTO Gerhard Christiner in his statement regarding the decision of Austria’s Supreme Administrative Court concerning the Salzburg line, which was published today.

This decision will boost the energy transition: it facilitates the implementation of the measures projected in the Renewable Energies Expansion Act (Erneuerbaren-Ausbau-Gesetz, EAG) – like the decarbonization of industry and trade, mobility transition and rapid expansion of renewable energies.

The legally valid construction permission for the Salzburg line has already been available since March 2019. Therefore construction works have been started in October 2019 in consideration of the energy transition and security of supply in Austria. The Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling on various matters of law (appeals on the positive environmental impact assessment) settle the last legal questions concerning the project. Central issues were the competence of the provincial government of Salzburg as EIA authority and whether cutting down trees for the line’s route qualify as land clearance subject to the Austrian Forestry Act. “This ruling provides complete clarity for all parties involved in this extremely long legal proceeding. I would like to reiterate specifically that the lawfulness of the Salzburg line project as such was not questioned, but certain aspects had to be clarified in terms of legal certainty. Eventually, also the project’s opponents are presented with a final decision regarding the remaining open questions and APG’s legitimate course of action was confirmed”, says APG’s CFO Thomas Karall.

With the Supreme Court’s ruling all levels of jurisdiction that may receive and decide on appeals have been run through.

Investments help the business location and job market

“With 890 million euros the Salzburg line is by far the most important investment project in Austria’s energy infrastructure. A share of 125 million of the approximately 350 million euros which APG will invest in grid expansion this year will flow into the Salzburg line and thus in the domestic economy“, states Christiner. In addition, it is very crucial especially at the moment that investments in the infrastructure are translated into action immediately and without delay. In view of the corona crisis every euro that is invested is extremely important for Austria’s economy.

The Salzburg line – an overview

A total of about 890 million Euros will be invested in the Salzburg line project, which also means that about 2,250 jobs are being secured in the province of Salzburg alone. The central issue in the planning of the project was how to respect the needs of people and nature as best as possible. After the completion of the Salzburg line there will be 229 pylons less in Salzburg due to double-circuit configurations and line optimization as well as dismantlement of old lines. The length of the dismantled lines will total 193 km (678 pylons). The total length of the new Salzburg line will be 128 km and comprise 449 pylons. Start of operations is scheduled for 2025, the dismantlement will be completed by 2026.

The project also comprises substantial compensatory measures for nature protection totaling approximately 45 million euros. For instance, an area of 1,100 hectares will be preserved and improved as habitat for birds, amphibians, reptiles, bats, and insects.

The approval procedure for the Salzburg line took a total of 77 months (almost six and a half years).

Chronology of the judicial milestones of the Salzburg line project

  1. Submission of the project to the provincial government of Salzburg as EIA authority – September 2012
  2. Positive decision of the provincial government Salzburg – December 2015
  3. Decision Austrian Federal Administrative Court – March 5, 2019
  4. Decision Austrian Supreme Administrative Court – October 15, 2020