Austrian grid operator to modernise its energy infrastructure

Utility networks operator Austrian Power Grid has awarded Finnish engineering firm Pöyry to upgrade its grid system.
Published: Wed 23 Aug 2017

Austrian Power Grid will be reconstructing and modernising its existing substation in Ernsthofen.

The deal between Pöyry and the utility will involve the replacement of 110KV switchgear and related components. Pöyry will be responsible for the provision of the equipment, as well as for the management of the project.

The programme, which will be carried out in four phases with 17 precisely defined stages, is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

Benefits of the upgrade

The Ernsthofen substation is located in the north of Austria on the federal state boundary between Lower and Upper Austria. The site includes three voltage levels of 110, 220 and 380kV. After the project completion, the 110kV switchgear alone will have in place up of 30 AIS bays and 10 GIS bays.

The modernisation of the substation is aimed at improving the delivery of electricity to consumers who are connected to energy distribution networks owned by Netz Niederösterreich GmbH and Energie AG Oberösterreich.

The project will also help improve the operations of hydropower plants operator Ennskraft AG and enable a reliable supply of electricity to an industrial settlement in Greater Linz.

Frank Jarosch,  the head of transmission and distribution at Poyry, commented: "Upgraded grid infrastructures are instrumental in adopting the future generation mix and to guarantee reliable power supply to all clients.”

Currently, over 670 run-of-river power plants and some 1,800 small-scale hydropower stations are in operation, which generate approx. 60% of Austria’s electricity requirements. Austria is at the top if Europe’s list when it comes to harnessing the potential of hydropower.

Secure system upgrades

As Austria’s grid system upgrades escalate in response to the installation of smart grid technologies and equipment, energy providers have recognised that there is a growing need to prioritise the security of their infrastructure and operational data from cyber-attacks.

One example is electricity distribution company Kärnten Netz GmbH which announced in March this year that it procured 300,000 smart meters using European Network for Cyber Security (ENCS)-authored requirements. The utility’s aim was to adopt a smoother process and ensure the best possible cybersecurity during deployment of these meters. According to a release, the positive experiences during the project with ENCS, has resulted in the decision by parent company of Kärnten Netz GmbH, KELAG, to join ENCS as its newest member.

European legislation is seen as main driver for the deployment. A key feature of these new advanced devices is the ability  to record energy consumption every 15 minutes and to transmit data to a central system to process and display it to the customer.