Boost for Energy Transition on (Danube) Track
Boost for Energy Transition on (Danube) Track: Newly Built 220-kV Line in Operation

With the start of operation of the Danube Track end of October another important component for the energy transition in Austria and the region’s security of supply has been implemented.

St.Peter am Hart/ Hausruck/ Sattledt/ Ernsthofen/ Vienna – APG’s 220-kV line from the substation St. Peter am Hart to the substation Ernsthofen – commonly called Danube Track – runs through the regions Innviertel, Hausruckviertel and Traunviertel and is one of the most important lines of supply within the transmission grid of Upper Austria. In addition to the necessity of ensuring the security of supply for the region, the future need for more transmission capacities in context of the energy transition and the condition of the old line were the main reasons for the investment.

“Due to the replacement of the old line with a new high-capacity line the Danube Track is now fit to handle future demands to guarantee the security of supply for the region. The transmission capacities have been more than doubled and besides the already existing feed-in of the Aschach power plant the new line provides additional capacities for the integration of renewable sources to supply the electricity customers in Upper Austria. It is an important building block with regard to the energy transition and security of supply in the region and in Austria”, explains Gerhard Christiner, APG’s CTO. Also from an economic perspective the Danube Track plays an important role: “Besides approximately 250,000 households, the 220-kV line supplies around 50,000 workshops and businesses in the region with electricity. These are the numbers for the 34 project communities alone. It will be particularly important for Austria as location for commerce and industry as well as living space to create an appropriate electricity infrastructure in every region, which is able to handle the challenges of the future”, emphasizes Thomas Karall, APG’s CFO.

New line, old track

After almost exactly 30 months of construction phase – construction works started in April 2018 – the 111km-long overhead line was put into operation at the end of October 2020. During the construction phase all 422 pylons and the 777 kilometers of transmission line conductors of the existing line were dissembled. The newly constructed 220-kV line comprises 420 pylons and a total transmission line conductor length of 1,554 km. The line’s route from the substation St. Peter am Hart via the substations Hausruck and Sattledt to the substation Ernsthofen remained the same and could even be optimized at certain sites.

In more or less 2.5 years APG invested approximately € 125 million in a sustainable electricity infrastructure for the region. “The Danube Track is an important element of our investment program which will total € 2.9 billion within the next ten years”, says Thomas Karall, APG’s CFO. State-of-the-art technology was used for the project. Among other things the height of the pylons was optimized, which throughout ensures a minimum distance of 11 m to the ground and thus a vertical clearance of 7.5 meters. This means that also modern agricultural equipment and vehicles which often need a higher clearance can safely pass under the line. “Due to the development of a narrow-shaft pylon design we were able to keep the same foundation size despite higher pylons and thus create optimized conditions for the local and regional agriculture and economy“, explains Christiner.