44 hectares of forest under threat

“Second Ohlsdorf” can be prevented according to experts

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10.07.2024 15:30

Do 44 hectares of forest have to be cleared for an overhead power line in the Mühlviertel region, or is it also possible to lay an underground cable? This question has recently sparked a provincial political debate. Experts commissioned by the Neos party have now shown that a "second Ohlsdorf" could definitely be prevented.

Referring to the clearing of around 19 hectares of forest for a company construction area in Ohlsdorf, Neos member of the National Council Karin Doppelbauer recently warned in the "Krone " against a "second Ohlsdorf" in the Mühlviertel. If the black-blue coalition has its way, an overhead power line project is to be realized there, which, according to Neos, threatens 44 hectares of forest. The opposition party has long been calling for a 110 kv underground cable to be laid parallel to the WAG loop gas pipeline currently under construction from Rohrbach-Rainbach to Bad Leonfelden.

Expert opinion 1: Bundling "not recommended"
However, the provincial energy councillor Markus Achleitner (ÖVP) rejects this. He refers to an examination of the project by the energy industry planning body within the state government's environmental protection department. Based on the opinions of the grid operators, this suggests that infrastructure bundling is "not recommended" from a technical and economic perspective.

Expert opinion 2: Bundling brings advantages
As the ÖVP and FPÖ did not allow any other experts to have their say in the relevant committee, the Neos have now done so in a press conference on Wednesday. And lo and behold: the studies by university professor Heinrich Brakelmann and the German energy expert Markus Pöller come to a completely different conclusion. According to them, a 110-kv line is "basically state of the art". In addition, an underground cable project with two isolating transformers would not be more expensive than the overhead line and would offer "greater security of supply than the overhead line with reduced grid losses".

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In two studies, we have shown that the realization of the Rohrbach-Rainbach line with 110 kV underground cables is basically state of the art and enables a particularly cost-effective realization with only one cable and two isolating transformers.

Stellungnahme der Experten Heinrich Brakelmann und Markus Pöller

According to the experts, laying the power cable parallel to the gas pipeline would even have additional advantages: "a train-by-train construction method on the same service strip, only a very small route in the forest and therefore hardly any additional clearing areas as well as significantly less land consumption".

For the Neos, it is therefore clear that LH Thomas Stelzer and "Mister Ohlsdorf Two" (© Karin Doppelbauer) Markus Achleitner simply want to impose their "political will". "They fear that the infrastructure bundling would set a precedent and then everyone would want an underground cable," speculates Doppelbauer.

Achleitner does not accept these accusations. On the one hand, he once again refers to the above-mentioned review by the Environmental Protection Department. On the other hand, he rejects the Neos diction of a "second Ohlsdorf": the forest clearance does not amount to 44, but only 1.45 hectares. The area between the electricity pylons is a "felling area". This means "that the vegetation is not allowed to grow into the line itself during operation. Accordingly, this area must be kept low-growing. This will result in the removal of trees, which must be compensated for by natural vegetation with tree species appropriate to the location," says Achleitner's office. In addition, an area of more than 70 hectares will have to be reforested as part of the project.

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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