Until 2030, Austria aims a 100 % renewables energy target (annual energy balance) for the national electricity system. Thanks to hydropower, with a RESE share of more than 73% Austria is top ranking within the EU 28 today. Another 5 – 6 TWh of hydropower generation will be a success factor. Together with Engadiner Kraftwerke AG (EKW), TIWAG is on the way to finish this 90 MW run of river plant “Gemeinschaftskraftwerk Inn” located at the border of Engadin/Swizzerland and Tyrol/Austria.
At the time being, this Euro 605 Mn investment is the largest run of river project in the alpine area. After a comprehensive environmental impact assessment, that included numerous optimisation measures, the ground breaking ceremony was in 2014. Today, the entire construction of this
414 GWh green electricity source is largely invisible as the powerhouse and the 23 km waterway are underground. The connection to the 110 and 220 kV grid is located at the “Kraftwerk Kaunertal”, TIWAG’s largest hydro storage power plant. Operation is planned for 2023. Both, TIWAG and EKW will benefit from renewable electricity generation.
Tyrol’s energy strategy is electricity based, where sector coupling and sector integration are of central interest. Hydropower is the main domestic renewable energy source and will be supplemented by PV in a significant share. Existing and new run of river plants, hydro storage as well as pumped hydro storage plants will manage future challenges to stabilize baseload supply and provide all sorts of system flexibility products. Also with cross border relevance.
GKI is another milestone of an ambitious 2800 GWh hydropower development program for Tyrol to be realized until 2035, while Austria all in all has a realistic hydropower rest potential of appr. 12000 GWh.
It’s construction follows a sustainable recycling concept. A significant part of the excavated material is used for concrete constructions, while the rest is stored by conveyors in the near vicinity. So burdens from transport and dust are minimized. Renaturation measures not only include location fair planting but also an adjusted storage of the material.
GKI generates 100 % green electricity emissionless from hydropower and reduces Tyrol’s import dependency. An optimised residual water management guarantees a natural flow behaviour of the river Inn throughout the year. It will also neutralise existing surge and sunk effects caused by hydro power plants in the upper course of the river Inn and thus significantly improves living conditions for fish and microorganisms.
During the construction phase up to 400 experts have been on site and beneficial for the local touristic infrastructure, while regional crafts benefit from significant parts of this investment. Furthermore local communities will take municipal taxes.
As this power plant is located within a densely populated touristic area, a stakeholder integration was a successfactor in all phases of this project. From the very beginning on, stakeholder workshops have been done together with the local communities. Interested persons could get individual information directly from the project management. Stakeholder inputs were integrated in project planning and construction site management.
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