Europe, Smart Grid, T&D Infrastructure

ABB in deal for Austria’s largest grid expansion project

Austria’s transmission system operator Austrian Power Grid (APG) has signed a five-year framework contract with ABB to supply gas-insulated switchgear to support the country’s largest electricity grid expansion to date.

The contract, potentially worth more than $100m, will see ABB supply gas-insulated switchgear for the construction of a transmission grid with stronger infrastructure which will be able to accommodate the gradually increasing integration of renewable energy.

Renewable energy is difficult to predict and causes load fluctuations, which is why the power grid requires strong and resilient transmission infrastructure. The network connects wind power generators in eastern Austria to pumped storage power plants in the western part of the country. It will also transport surplus solar and wind power to pumped storage power plants in the Alps that act as “green batteries” for storing electricity that can be harvested during high demand periods.

Gas-insulated switchgear is a compact, metal-encapsulated switchgear that uses pressurized insulating gas, enabling safe operations in confined spaces. It significantly reduces equipment footprint by occupying only 10 per cent of the space taken by an air-insulated switchgear substation, thus acting as an important enabler for urbanization.

The installation is therefore fully aligned with #mission2030 plan, Austria’s plan to achieve 100 per cent electricity consumption from renewable energy and a fully carbon-free society by 2030. This goal also honors the European Union’s renewable energy targets of 32 per cent renewables by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2050. ABB’s technology solution is seen as a catalyst to enable a smarter, safer and greener grid.

“The #mission2030 plan involves the coordinated implementation of renewable energy generation and the network infrastructure”, said Gerhard Christiner, chief executive of APG.

“ABB has a long-standing relationship with APG, and our reliable GIS technology will play a key role in this important extension project to strengthen the transmission infrastructure,” said Markus Heimbach, managing director of ABB’s Power Grids High Voltage business line, part of the company’s Power Grids business. “ABB’s compact GIS will help to integrate renewable energy while helping Austria achieve its ambitious energy and climate targets.”

 “With advanced technologies that are enabling a sustainable energy future, ABB Power Grids is at the forefront of integrating and transmitting renewable energy,” added Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Grids business.

ABB’s GIS installation will start at the end of the year and continue at various substations until 2024.