The construction of an expanded electricity line connecting Germany and Austria has begun, with the €600 million investment expected to increase grid stability and help provide cheaper power to industry in the region.
Austria, with about nine gigawatts of pumped hydropower plants, is among the EU countries leading the way on batteries. By expanding the electricity line connecting Germany and Austria, Bavaria hopes to benefit from the alpine country’s ability to store electricity.
“Bavaria, and Lower Bavaria in particular, is a leader in solar energy, while Austria has invested heavily in pumped storage power plants and continues to expand them,” explained Hubert Aiwanger, the Bavarian minister of economy and energy.
“These technologies complement each other perfectly,” he stressed.
The electricity connection between Bavaria and Upper Austria, built in the 1930s, will be expanded from 220-kilovolt capacity to 380. Given the importance of the project to Bavaria, Munich will fund the lion’s share and spend €500 million.
“We are dependent on the exchange of electricity with Austria and must also provide the necessary transport capacity for this,” said Tim Meyerjürgens, CEO of transmission grid operator TenneT.
Austria and Bavaria have both committed to climate neutrality in 2040. Ensuring that intermittent renewable production is balanced out by Austrian pump storage as well as Bavaria’s increasingly abundant solar PV capacity, is deemed key by their top politicians.
“Bavaria is fully committed to renewable energies” which meant that “the power lines must be expanded,” explained Markus Söder, minister-president of Bavaria.
(Nikolaus J. Kurmayer | EURACTIV.de)