Generating Energy with Drinking Water - The Mauer Small-scale Hydropower Plant

Hydropower Plant Mauer - exterior view

In January 2006, the Vienna Water took a new drinking water-based power plant into operation. It is situated in Vienna-Mauer, at the endpoint of the Second Vienna Spring Water Main . Part of the water volume reaching Vienna via the Spring Water Main now passes through a Francis turbine, generating fully three million kilowatt-hours of energy per year and supplying 1,000 households with electricity.

Already today, the main-based power plants in the spring zones and along the Second Vienna Spring Water Main produce approximately 65 million kilowatt-hours of energy per year. This total volume corresponds to the energy requirements of a city roughly as big as the Lower Austrian capital St. Pölten.

Development of the Mauer small-scale hydropower plant

Interior view of the hydropower plant

Into the 1970s, a small-scale hydropower plant was operated in Vienna-Mauer for the purpose of pressure elimination (for example the reduction of water pressure generated by the difference in elevation between the various plant units). After a fire, however, the plant was shut down and never reactivated for feasibility reasons. To replace it, the pressure generated was eliminated mechanically by means of three hydraulic pressure-reducing valves. The Eco-Electricity Law, which promotes the generation of electrical energy on the basis of renewable resources, and the setting of fixed prices for electrical energy from "green" power plants has rendered the operation of this new small-scale hydropower plant economically feasible.

Francis-Turbine with generator

The Siemens AG company had already proved its competence and reliability in extensive co-operation projects relating to the existing power plants in the spring zones. Thus an agreement was drawn up for the Mauer hydropower plant for the joint implementation of this small-scale facility: for the purpose of constructing and operating the main-based hydropower plant, the Siemens company established the subsidiary Hochquellstrom-Vertriebs GmbH; the City of Vienna then concluded an utilisation agreement with this enterprise, which also financed and constructed the power plant. The operating company will manage the plant until full recovery of the construction cost.

The twelve power plants of the Vienna Water

Old vane

Municipal Department 31 operates a total of seven power plants in Wildalpen, supplying the entire village and the local facilities of the Vienna Water with electricity. The municipal utility company of the City of Mariazell is the recipient of the remaining energy generated. Four drinking water-based power plants are operated in the Hirschwang spring zone (Lower Austria); the smallest of these has an output of only 13 kilowatt. Actually, it would be impossible to supply the population of Hinternasswald without the local power plant, since the public network of the large-scale Lower Austrian provider EVN does not reach this remote part of the valley. A concrete project was submitted for the construction of an additional power plant in Nasswald: the water of Pfannbauern Spring and Schneealpe Gallery is to largely pass by the historic Reithof power plant. This will allow for the generation of another 450 kilowatt of electrical energy.

The generation of "green" energy from mountain spring water permits using the fundamental resource water in a novel, ecologically valuable manner.

This is about the cleanest energy can get!

Contact for this page:
Vienna Water (Municipal Department 31)
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