Image: The integrative concept makes the power station of the 89-MW-Gemeinschaftskraftwerk Inn (GKI) almost invisible. Location: Prutz/Tyrol
TIWAG is one of the leading renewable energy generation and storage enterprises in Austria. Its assests are predominantly based on hydropower. Within a project partnership of TIWAG-Tiroler Wasserkraft AG and Engadiner Kraftwerke AG the run of river power station “Gemeinschaftskraftwerk Inn (GKI)” is under construction close to the Swiss border. Start of full operation is expected in 2021.
With a renewable share of electricity generation (RES-E) of more than 72 %, thanks to hydropower Austria is top ranking within EU28. The latest Austrian climate and energy policy targets let expect a RES-E share of not less than 100 % per saldo until 2030 where hydropower generation should be extended by another 6 – 8 TWh p.a..
At the time being, with a nominal capacity of 89 MW and an annual renewable electricity generation of appr. 440 GWh this 600 MEur investment is the most extensive run of river project of the 21st century within the Alps. Thus, GKI is another important step to support the European sustainability strategy and the climate and energy policy.
The concept is driven by careful environmental handling. Stakeholder integration and transparency modules have guaranteed a good project performance. All assets are environmentally well integrated and only a spare part of the construction will be visible. Its ecologic footprint is respectable: Being a zero-emission-technology, this hydro power plant avoids inter alia 320.000 tons of annual CO2 emissions and manages valuable natural resources at 90 % efficiency. With a technical lifespan of more than 90 years it sustainably supplies at least two generations with renewable energy from domestic resources.
Furthermore, it is an important step to improve regional energy autonomy at a renewable basis at low costs while external fossil energy dependency is reduced. This is also a precondition for socio economic welfare.
GKI efficiently reduces surge effects and thus improves the ecologic status of river Inn. Furthermore, a scientific proven dynamic restwater model guarantees flow management close to the natural behaviour of the river Inn at any time. A minimum flow of 5,5 m3/sec is the basic precondition, that fish and micro organisms may develop undisturbed during their recreation phase in winter.