It is a milestone for the electricity supply in Carinthia: in the presence of numerous guests of honor the Austrian transmission system operator Austrian Power Grid AG (APG) and the distribution grid operator KNG-Kärnten Netz GmbH have officially inaugurated the 220/110 kV substation Villach Süd. In this project the two partners jointly invested a total of approximately 80 million euros. From now on a secure and sufficient energy supply of the greater area of Villach can be guaranteed for the next few decades.
“The official start of operation can truly be called a milestone regarding the energy supply in Carinthia”, says Manfred Freitag, spokesperson of the board of Kelag. “The 220/110 kV substation Villach is only the third mains supply of that kind in Carinthia and we have built it in a region that is developing dynamically and has the largest need of energy. This facility very tellingly shows that we do not only need digital technology for intelligent energy management but also massive technical equipment and infrastructure, that are able to handle large volumes of electricity, depending on the demands of the customers, for ensuring the security of supply.“
Joint investment of approximately 80 million euros in the 220/110 kV substation Villach
The 220/110 kV substation Villach connects the 110 kV grid in the area of Villach with the Austrian transmission grid and thus also with the integrated European grid. It comprises the new 220/110 kV switchgear located south of Fürnitz and the 220 kV grid connection, including the new, 12km long 110 kV double circuit line from the substation Villach to the substation Landskron and the integration of the already existing 110 kV line from Villach to Hermagor.
“Approximately 150,000 people live and work in the greater area of Villach. Successful companies are located in this area and some of them need a lot of energy“, explains Reinhard Draxler, CEO of KNG-Kärnten Netz GmbH. “We assume that the region will continue to grow. Therefore we have started 12 years ago to work on the solution that officially starts operation today.” Those twelve years comprised the planning phases, permission procedures and the two-stage construction phase. “This project shows how much time is necessary to implement such an infrastructure project. Therefore forward-looking planning is very important“, says Draxler. KNG-Kärnten Netz GmbH invested a total of 50 million euros in the 110 kV side, while APG provided 30 million euros for the 220 kV side.
“To ensure a secure energy supply also in the future!”
“Regarding the security of supply Austria ranks among the very top nations worldwide with a grid availability of more than 99.99 %. Projects like the substation Villach Süd are key for ensuring that also in the future this does not change,” states Gerhard Christiner, APG’s CTO, emphasizing the importance of the new facility, and he adds: “For a successful energy transition in Austria we need lines with sufficient capacities and substations in addition to sufficient production capacities and storage facilities. This is the only way to make sure that we will have sufficient reserves in Austria to manage the integration of electricity from hard-to-predict sources like wind or solar power. In this context the substation Villach plays an important role because it gives us more flexibility regarding Austria-wide grid balancing. A stable grid is indispensable especially with regard to the continually progressing electrification in all sectors of the economy and society. Especially business and industrial enterprises depend on the invariant quality of the energy supplied. To ensure this we will invest approximately 3.1 billion euros all over Austria in the next ten years in the expansion and modernization of our grid infrastructure, 360 million euros in 2021 alone. Approximately 9 million of this sum go to Carinthia to strengthen the area as location for business and industry and place to live and work.”
“A functioning energy supply is the be-all and end-all!”
Carinthia’s Provincial Governor Peter Kaiser underlined the importance of a functioning energy supply in his speech: “With today’s start of operation of the substation Villach Süd we are experiencing a milestone in ensuring the indispensable supply of energy. Not only tens of thousands of households and people in Villach and the surrounding area will benefit from it, but also many business enterprises, because today a functioning and stable energy supply is the be-all and end-all especially in important production sectors. Without energy it literally gets dark. This might be a nuisance and inconvenience for households, but for a business enterprise it is a question of economic survival. The best example for this is Infineon. This company needs a secure and stable energy supply at all times to be able to maintain its leading world market position in semiconductor production. From this perspective the 80 million investment of Kärnten Netz and Austrian Power Grid was probably an important factor regarding Infineon’s decision to invest 1.6 billion euros in their site in Villach in Carinthia, which will also provide a boost for further employment in the region. As Provincial Governor of Carinthia I would like to express my gratitude for the faith and absolute belief in a positive future development of our province, which is expressed by these large investments.”
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