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EXCITING NEWS: ÖBB further expands its own green traction power generation with the new Tauernmoos power plant

EXCITING NEWS: ÖBB further expands its own green traction power generation with the new Tauernmoos power plant
photo: SailerBrothers / ÖBB/EXCITING NEWS: ÖBB further expands its own green traction power generation with the new Tauernmoos power plant
08 / 09 / 2022

ÖBB has moved another step closer to its goal of being able to generate more green traction current itself in line with demand. At ÖBB's largest power plant construction site in Salzburg's Stubach Valley, the final tunnel breakthrough has been completed. This means that the entire tunnel system has been excavated and the focus is now on the interior work and the electrical equipment of the pumped-storage power plant in the mountain.

ÖBB's own production of sustainable electricity is at the heart of its ambitious climate protection strategy. For over 100 years, ÖBB has been a pioneer in electric mobility, and since 2018, ÖBB has been relying on traction current from 100% renewable energy. ÖBB already produces around one-third of its traction current from hydropower. And that's not all: by 2030, this share is to increase to over 40% through the renewal of existing power plants and other renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. At the same time, the rail network throughout Austria will also be further electrified. Already today, over 95% of rail transport services are provided electrically. In Salzburg itself, 100% of the rail network is already electrified.

Tauernmoos power plant Tunnelling work has thus been completed

Since 2020, work has therefore been underway on the construction of the new Tauernmoos power plant in Pinzgau. As an extension of the already existing ÖBB power plant group Stubachtal, the first ÖBB pumped storage power plant is being built. This will enable even more green electricity to be generated independently and in line with demand for railway operations in the future. The miners have now succeeded in breaking through the access tunnel to the Weißsee, and all tunnelling work has thus been completed. The completed 11.3 kilometres of tunnel comprise the waterway and the access tunnel, which in future will guarantee weather-independent truck access to the new power plant and the Tauernmoossee and Weißsee reservoirs. In the past, accessibility was difficult, especially in winter, and only possible to a limited extent using the ÖBB works cableway.

ÖBB / SailerBrothers

Thanks to the great commitment of all those involved at the highest ÖBB construction site, this important section could be implemented on schedule, emphasises project manager Christian Höss from ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG: "Underground construction is always a special challenge. We are all the more pleased to be able to celebrate another important milestone with the breakthrough of the access tunnel at the highest point of the project at 2,250m above sea level. Since September 2020, the miners have been blasting in shifts, with a total of more than 15 m of excavation per day. This means that tunnelling is now complete and the focus is now on the interior concrete lining and the technical equipment. The work in the cavern, where the two machine sets will form the heart of the facility in the future, is also on the schedule."

Christina Haslauer, the tunnel sponsor, is also pleased: "About 20 months after the start of the main construction work for the Tauernmoos pumped storage power plant, the final tunnel breakthrough has already been carried out, marking an important milestone for the entire major project in the Pinzgau Stubach Valley. The 'water battery in the Hohe Tauern' will significantly increase ÖBB's share of green traction current in the future. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all those involved, above all the miners, for their professional and prudent work under difficult conditions," says tunnel patron Dr Christina Haslauer.

The new power plant as a "green battery" for environmentally-friendly mobility

The new Tauernmoos pumped storage power plant is the optimal complement to the existing Stubachtal power plant group. Until now, Weißsee lake has only served as a pre-storage reservoir. By connecting it to Lake Tauernmoos, Lake Weißsee will become a "green battery" in the future: the two sets of machines in the underground cavern, which is the height of a twelve-storey house, pump water from Lake Tauernmoos into Lake Weißsee, which is 220m higher when electricity demand is low.

ÖBB / Sailer

This difference in altitude can be used in times of high electricity demand: The water is released from the Weißsee and drives the turbines to generate electricity again. Depending on demand, green electricity from hydropower is thus available for environmentally friendly train operation. The total investment for the construction amounts to approx. 335 million euros, which ÖBB will finance from its funds outside the framework plan. Commissioning is planned for 2025.

A successful model test has already been carried out for the two pump turbines, to achieve the highest possible efficiency. In this way, the green battery can be used efficiently and sustainably, explains equipment coordinator Walter Kühner from the energy division.

 

Source: ÖBB Press Releases

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