expat network

Alstom Awarded Contract for Substation

Alstom has been awarded a contract by Austrian energy provider Vorarlberger Illwerke AG [1], to deliver, install and commission a gas-insulated substation (GIS) for the Obervermuntwerk II pumped-storage power plant in western Austria. The GIS [2] will be linked to the power plant’s two transformers as well as to a network interconnection transformer enabling hydroelectric power to be connected to the Austrian grid. Alstom’s experience in delivery and assembly of complex equipment in hard-to-reach areas puts the company in good stead to complete the project by the end of 2017.

The Obervermuntwerk II power plant will be located 1,700 metres above sea level and is situated between the ‘Silvretta’ and ‘Vermunt’ reservoirs. Alstom’s GIS will be installed within the power plant cavern located underground. Given the space constraints, the GIS, which is up to ten times smaller than the alternative Air-Insulated Switchgear (AIS), is the ideal technical solution.

“Renewable energies are naturally volatile and integrating them into the electricity grid is the biggest challenge of today´s grid expansion, and now there is a sense of urgency considering the energy transition currently underway in many European countries. Alstom’s GIS offers a solution that is able to balance the intermittency of the renewable energies and provide, together with the pump storage, a solid base for the future energy infrastructure in Austria and its neighbouring countries”, comments Josef Reisel, Managing Director of Alstom Austria GmbH in Vienna.

“Obervermuntwerk II will make use of the existing capacities of the Silvretta and Vermunt reservoirs. Its concept as underground cavern power plant meets the current requirements for the environmental compatibility of new projects. It was important to select a substation that met our requirements in terms of size, flexibility and efficiency.” explains Helmut Mennel, Member of the Board of Directors of Illwerke VKW.

Over 70% of energy generated in Austria comes from renewable energy sources, a large part derived from hydropower plants. Austria aims to improve on energy efficiency and increase the share of renewable energy in its mix. As a result, there is a growing demand for substations that are able to meet the needs of the network with intermittent renewable energy production.

This is Alstom’s second contract with Vorarlberger Illwerke AG for the Obervermuntwerk II pumped-storage power station. The first contract to supply two generators and exciters was secured in 2014.