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APG Nature Conservation Conference at Auenwerkstatt Weitwörth

About 50 experts on site and 35 online participants met at the invitation of Austrian Power Grid (APG) for the fourth expert conference on nature conservation at the ‘Auenwerkstatt Weitwörth’ in Salzburg. The focus was on the management of floodplain landscapes as well as the current condition of floodplain forests in Central Europe and worldwide, including presentations on the nature conservation measures that are being implemented as part of the construction of the Salzburg line.

An efficient and well-developed electricity infrastructure is not only a prerequisite for the secure supply of electricity and the achievement of Austria's climate and energy targets, the construction of power lines is also associated with "unexpected" positive effects for biodiversity, nature conservation and the protection of fauna and flora.

"Sustainable planning and action is part of our DNA. Electricity is the sustainable energy source for businesses, industry and society in Austria, now and in the future. The electricity infrastructure itself provides space for flora, but is also a habitat for fauna. With numerous measures at and along our existing infrastructure (for example, the long-standing nesting box project for the Saker falcons in Eastern Austria) and within the framework of our grid expansion projects, we demonstrate on a daily basis that electricity infrastructure and habitats are not opposites, but can indeed form symbiotic relationships. This is why such initiatives are also part of our comprehensive investment program of 3.5 billion euros until 2032," explains Christoph Schuh, company spokesperson of APG.

Construction showcase project: Auenwerkstatt Weitwörth

Specifically, as part of the compensation measures for the Salzburg line (which are prescribed by the authorities and financed by APG) the Natura 2000 site Salzachauen was expanded and the ‘Auenwerkstatt Weitwörth’ was built as information and education center on nature and the environment. The building itself was constructed in a way that protects the landscape, it is self-sufficient in terms of electricity and heat supply and has its own plant-based sewage purification system. The nature conservation area is one of the most species-rich ecosystems in Salzburg and comprises 1,145 hectares. Rare birds such as the oriole or the kingfisher breed in the alluvial forests along the river Salzach. Tree frogs, agile frogs and other endangered amphibians live in many small and larger bodies of water. With the project ‘Auenwerkstatt’ the surrounding nature can be experienced by the general public and especially schools.

Nature conservation conference 2023 at the ‘Auenwerkstatt Weitwörth’

APG’s nature conservation conference on May 9 and 10, 2023 took place at the ‘Auenwerkstatt Weitwörth’, and around 85 experts accepted APG’s invitation to attend the conference. Numerous experts from Austria and abroad (including representatives of authorities, ecologists, experts from APG and other grid operators) gave presentations on the following topics: floodplains in an international context, floodplain forest management by the Austrian Federal Forests (Österreichische Bundesforste), and challenges of floodplain forest management or renaturation of the Weitwörth floodplain. For a change of pace the schedule also included two excursions. While the first one led to the Weitwörth floodplain, the participants visited the Ursprunger Moor during the second one. "The Ursprunger Moor is a project aiming at returning agricultural land to moorland, which we have been accompanying for several years. This is an example of how something is created for the greater good when measures feed into many sustainable projects, as is the case here," says a pleased Sven Aberle, project manager of APG’s Habitat Management.

Habitat management has high priority

In addition to compensatory measures in the course of transmission line projects, sustainable habitat management is a high priority at APG: in the area of existing lines which includes the implementation of targeted nature and species protection measures. In this way, APG makes a significant contribution to creating a network of biotopes and improving biodiversity.

Aberle: "Habitat management and the preservation of the original landscape are very important to us. Field trips like this help to exchange knowledge, to network and to get a good on-site impression of how important and meaningful the measures are that we carry out for nature and species protection along our transmission line projects. I'm pleased every year that so many people attend our conference and express their commitment with regard to these important topics."


About Austrian Power Grid (APG)

As independent transmission system operator Austrian Power Grid (APG) is in charge of ensuring the security of electricity supply in Austria. With our high-performance and digital electricity infrastructure and the use of state-of-the-art technologies we integrate renewable energies, we are the platform for the electricity market, and we provide access to reasonably priced electricity for Austria’s consumers and thus create the basis for Austria as supply-secure industrial and business location and place to live. The APG grid totals a length of about 3,400 km and is operated, maintained and continuously adapted to the increasing challenges of the electrification of businesses, industry and society by a team of approximately 733 specialists. Also in 2022 Austria had a security of supply of 99.99 percent and thus ranks among the top countries worldwide. Our investments of 490 million euros in 2023 (2022: 370 million euros) are a motor for the Austrian economy and a crucial factor in reaching Austria’s climate and energy targets. Until 2032 APG will invest a total of approximately 3.5 billion euros in grid expansion and renovation projects, which amounts to approximately 19 percent of the total of 18 billion euros which the energy industry will invest in the grid infrastructure over the next ten years.

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Carolina Burger

Wagramer Straße 19 (IZD-Tower)
1220 Wien

Phone +43 664 883 42 948 Email
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