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Grid operations

Supplying electricity: a balancing act for the APG team

The APG team is made up of around 850 specialists working around the clock, 365 days a year, to make sure that Austria is supplied with electricity. Their core task is to maintain a constant balance between electricity supply and demand. 

Grid operations

Roughly 700 highly trained APG employees work every day to ensure safe, failure-free operation of all APG systems, to maintain the APG grid and, should malfunctions occur, to see to it that the glitch is resolved quickly. Moreover, steadily rising electricity consumption and an enormous increase in the feed-in of electricity from renewables mean that electricity transmission networks must be carefully expanded with an eye to tomorrow’s needs. APG is responsible for maintaining grid voltage and frequency as well as for handling electricity imports and exports both to and from Austria. It provides a technically and economically optimised structure for grid operations and for supplying the distribution grids operated by the state energy companies in individual federal states. 

Grid operations: a question of balance

APG is Austria’s control area manager, and is therefore responsible for balancing the supply and demand of electricity in Austria on an ongoing basis. When the grid frequency is maintained at a constant 50 hertz, the supply of electricity is stable and functions smoothly. As the share of renewable energies in the total power supply rises, it becomes increasingly challenging to keep the balance between supply and demand steady given that generation from renewable power plants is subject to supply fluctuations caused by the weather. 

Network safety and security: the utmost priority

Safety and security are key values at APG. In operating its grid, APG ensures (n-1) redundancy. The “(n-1) criterion” is an important factor in ensuring secure operation of the transmission grid. Adhering to the (n-1) criterion ensures that the elements remaining in operation after occurrence of a contingency (failure of a line, transformer, etc.) are capable of accommodating the new operational situation without violating operational security limits, thus avoiding subsequent failures and minimising the risk of widespread service interruptions. APG employees follow the highest of safety standards in the operation, servicing and maintenance of APG’s systems. Their safety, too, is of the utmost importance. 

APG power grid control

All information on the domestic transmission grid is conveyed to and processed by the APG power grid control – the heart of the Austrian power supply. Any malfunctions in the grid are handled by APG specialists at the power grid control. Often, it’s necessary to take the right action to stabilise the grid within seconds: does a power line need to be put online or taken offline? Where is the grid energy too low? Where in the grid is too much energy flowing? What steps can be taken to bring the power grid back into balance? 

The APG power grid control's duties

  • coordinating, planning and managing more than 100,000 electricity transfers each year
  • managing system operations of Austrian Power Grid AG’s high-voltage and extra-high voltage grid
  • optimising load flows
  • congestion management 
  • coordinating plant shutdowns for overhaul 

Special unit: the APG line team

The line team is a special unit at APG that is often working at the limits of its capacity. The team is primarily responsible for maintaining and servicing the overhead power lines. Depending on the type of work to be performed, power to the affected lines will also be cut temporarily. The line team uses the ensuing time window to check the line, including its clamps and fittings, and to carry out repair or maintenance operations. In extreme cases, the team has to work on pylons of up to 100 metres in height. Experience and perfectly synchronised teamwork are an absolute must in such situations. Working at high altitudes, which is par for the course for the APG line team, requires adherence to the strictest of safety standards. 

The future is electric

We are doing everything we can to safeguard the energy supply and ensure system stability in an ever more dynamic environment. And we are doing that in all areas of life and work – from e-scooters to electricity-based steel production. Ultimately, electricity will become the single energy source that will underpin our entire sustainable energy ecosystem in the future.

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