525-MW Austrian Pumped Storage Plant Opened

The Kopswerk II pumped storage hydro plant in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg has been officially inaugurated. Capable of feeding up to 525 MW into the grid to serve peak load demand, or absorbing up to 450 MW of surplus energy from the grid, each of the plant’s units consists of a Pelton turbine, a motor-generator, a starting converter, and a storage pump.

Kopswerk II uses separate machine sets with separate pumps and turbines rather than reversible pump-turbines and the machine sets are designed to operate with so-called short hydraulic circuits, where the storage pump and the turbine can operate simultaneously.

This allows a certain amount of water to be channeled to the turbine and generate electricity and, as a result, the machine set is flexible enough to be able to absorb the exact amount of electricity available from the grid.

The operator of the facility, Vorarlberger Illwerke AG, invested a total of around €400 million [US $568 million] in the development, which took four years to build. Voith Hydro supplied the major equipment for Kopswerk II, including pumps, converters, spherical valves, and butterfly valves.

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