OMV, the international, integrated oil and gas company headquartered in Vienna, and VERBUND, Austria’s leading electricity company and one of the largest hydropower producers in Europe, began construction on the largest area photovoltaic plant in Austria. The construction start was attended by Elisabeth Köstinger, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Regions & Tourism, Stephan Pernkopf, Deputy of the Federal Governor of Lower Austria, Rainer Seele, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of OMV, Johann Pleininger, Executive Board member for Upstream and Deputy Chairman of OMV, Wolfgang Anzengruber, Chairman of the Management Board of VERBUND, and Michael Strugl, Deputy Chairman of VERBUND, at the OMV site in Schönkirchen-Reyersdorf, Lower Austria.
On a 13.3-hectare (133,200 m²) compound owned by OMV, a photovoltaic plant with a PV capacity of 11.4 MWp will be built in Schönkirchen in the first phase of construction. The east-west facing solar park will use 34,600 PV modules to produce around 10.96 GWh of solar power, corresponding to the annual electricity consumption of some 3,400 households and saving around 8,000 metric tons of CO2. Start-up is planned for the end of November 2020.
The final phase of construction will see another 10,400 PV modules added to the plant. This will increase the total capacity to 14.85 MWp, generating around 14.25 GWh. This is enough to meet the annual power demand of 4,400 households and will save an additional 2,400 metric tons of CO2 per year.
Elisabeth Köstinger, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Regions & Tourism: “The expansion of photovoltaics in Austria is central to achieving the Austrian renewable electricity targets. I am particularly pleased that OMV and VERBUND are jointly building Austria’s largest PV plant and thus supplying also their mining operations in the region with green electricity.”
Stephan Pernkopf, Deputy of the Federal Governor of Lower Austria: “Lower Austria is successfully supporting the energy transition for many years already. In doing so, we protect the climate and create jobs in the regions. The construction of the largest PV plant in Austria by OMV and VERBUND is a significant milestone in this respect.”
“Together with VERBUND, today we are starting construction on Austria’s largest area photovoltaic plant. This will not only contribute to meeting climate targets but will also provide important regional economic impulse in the Weinviertel. Investments like these reflect our resolute commitment to reducing our carbon intensity”, said Rainer Seele, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of OMV.
“By 2030, 100% of electricity produced in Austria should come from renewable sources”, said Wolfgang Anzengruber, VERBUND Chairman. “With 131 hydropower plants, we are Austria’s largest energy producer and we intend to grow significantly – also in the field of new renewables. By realizing the largest solar plant in Austria, we are implementing a sustainable economic and environmental agenda and jointly investing in the future of energy”.
This project also strengthens the strategic cooperation between OMV and VERBUND. This began in 2017 when OMV took a 40% stake in the e-mobility provider SMATRICS, in which VERBUND holds 40% and Siemens 20%. A joint assessment was undertaken of the refining sites in Austria and Germany to increase the quality, safety and security of supply. In the green hydrogen sector, OMV and VERBUND are currently working together on a project called UpHy, which looks at producing hydrogen for use in road vehicles and refinery processes.