St. Peter am Hart/Simbach (energate) - The grid operators Austrian Power Grid (APG) and Tennet are starting the construction of a new 380 kV line between Germany and Austria. The line is one of the so-called Projects of Common Interest at European level (PCI). At the groundbreaking ceremony on the German side, Tennet CEO Tim Meyerjürgens explained that the interconnector will connect wind power from the north and solar power from southern Germany with pumped storage in the Alps. This is "immensely important for the power supply in Bavaria and the Bavarian chemical triangle." On the Austrian side, APG board member Gerhard Christiner also stressed that the connection will significantly improve access to the market for Austrian electricity customers and the transport of electricity between the two countries. The current connection, which is about 70 years old, has reached its capacity limits and makes expensive congestion management necessary.
Route between Lower Bavaria and Upper Austria
The new, 'four-system' 380 kV line runs from Altheim in Bavaria to St. Peter am Hart in Upper Austria. Commissioning of the entire line is planned for 2027. At the ground-breaking ceremony, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU - Christian Democrats) put the investment in grid expansion on the Bavarian side at 500 million euros. The energy supply must become more independent and regional, Söder emphasised. Bavaria's Energy Minister Hubert Aiwanger (FW) pointed out that renewables in Bavaria and pumped storage in Austria would complement each other perfectly.
On the Lower Bavarian side, the planning approval decision for the section from Simbach to St. Peter has been issued after a long approval process. After the start of construction, the commissioning of this section is planned for the end of 2023, followed by the dismantling of the existing road. According to Tennet, the other planning sections on the Bavarian side are close to completion of the planning approval process and are scheduled to be ready by autumn next year. After that, the new replacement line is to be in operation by 2026 and the dismantling of the existing line is scheduled to be completed by 2027.
2.5 line kilometres on the Austrian side
On the Austrian side, 2.5 kilometres run through Upper Austria. The line will connect the APG grid node St. Peter with the Bavarian substations Simbach, Ottenhofen, Isar and Pleinting. The 'Germany line' is just one of several joint projects between APG and Tennet (energate reported).
APG is investing 84 million euros in this project and puts this in relation to the expenditure on congestion management. Because grid capacities are lacking in Austria, redispatch cost 718 million euros in the previous year alone, explained board member Thomas Karall. In addition, low-priced electricity from Germany is not available to Austrian electricity customers "for long periods of time". Due to the lack of grid capacities, domestic customers pay 26 €/MWh more than consumers in the neighbouring country.
Tennet wants to sell its grids in Germany
Both representatives of Bavaria and Markus Achleitner (ÖVP - Austrian Popular Party), Upper Austria's regional councillor for economic affairs, stressed the importance of the line for industry in the region. The interconnector would make low-cost electricity more available to manufacturers in Upper Austria as well as the 'Bavarian chemical triangle'. But the line will not be enough to convert industry in the region to renewables, commented Bavarian Energy Minister Aiwanger. "I expect Tennet to plan and build all the necessary lines for the electricity supply of the chemical triangle on time." A few weeks ago, the Dutch state-owned company Tennet had announced its intention to sell its transmission grids in Germany (energate reported).
By Peter Martens