More electric power for Lungau

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More electric power for Lungau

Expansion of the Rotgülden power plant

Beautiful music or a good movie, a glass of wine, a cozy couch. What makes this wonderful mood even more perfect is a pleasant ambiance with the perfect temperature under dimmed lights.

To ensure that this will remain possible for the district of Lungau for years to come, the energy supplier Salzburg AG has exercised the foresight to expand the Rotgülden power plant. This refurbishment was done with the dedicated support of Rittmeyer Ges.m.b.H. Austria, their trusted expert for electrical and control equipment for all areas of the energy and water industry.

The Rotgülden power plant is in Murtal at the source of the Mur River, the second-longest river in Austria. Due to the steadily increasing electrical demand in the Lungau district, the plant originally built in the 1950s underwent an upgrade in 1967 but required a complete rebuild that was completed in 2022.


To extract more power using the same amount of water required relocating the powerhouse 2.3 kilometers downstream to gain an additional 80 meters of head to a total of 188 meters and simultaneously incorporate the latest technological advances into the new power plant. As an added benefit, it eliminates ecologically questionable flow fluctuations in the river caused by the demand-controlled operation. The whole infrastructure, including the new vertically installed 6-jet Pelton turbine, more than doubled the average annual output to 10.000 MWh, ensuring those electrical comforts we rely on and enjoy.

Completion on schedule despite Corona

Rittmeyer Ges.m.b.H., headquartered in Vienna, was chosen to provide complete electrotechnical equipment and integration for the existing installation and systems. Thanks to its many years of experience in the processes of the energy industry and excellent reputation on many other successful projects in Austria and abroad, Rittmeyer was awarded the supply distribution to the auxiliary systems and AC/DC converters in addition to the production and installation of the automation cabinets. Rittmeyer played an integral part in this project, from conceptual design, specifications, diagrams, plant software, and the installation of the wiring, battery systems, sensors, and measuring devices through commissioning. These systems included water level control and automation, penstock leak detection system, unit automation with start-up and shutdown sequence, turbine control, black-start capability, and island operation (the neighboring Hintermuhr is directly supplied via a 30 kV power line) as well as mechanical/ thermal protection.




"Despite limitations in the workflow due to Covid restrictions, the electrical and instrumentation work proceeded quickly and highly professional. A credit to the industry expert Rittmeyer, who contributed its entire know-how to the project to ensure that it went according to plan",

Dipl.-Ing. Simon Schernthanner, project manager, Salzburg AG.

Connecting external systems

A particular challenge was pulling the various third-party devices into a seamless system. This involved integrating the protection system from Phoenix Contact (safety circuit), the Zenon process control system from COPADATA (MMI), and the SICAM A8000 automation devices from Siemens. The LAN connection between the two 30 kV switchgear stations, power plant control center, transformer station, as well as the external water intake and transport at the Plölitzen reservoir, communicate via a fiber optic ring. The LAN also has numerous copper signals to the automation and control devices. For security, the system employs encrypted protocol IEC 60870-5-104. The Phoenix relays communicate with each other via Profinet and are integrated into the system via Modbus TCP.

Constantly keeping the overview

A distributed control architecture was employed, especially for safety systems such as pressure, level, and temperature parameters. These are monitored at the control center through the Zenon interface with Rittmeyer’s RITOP.



"With the Rotgülden power plant, Rittmeyer has been able to once again impressively demonstrate its know-how in the power plant sector. Despite the difficult framework conditions, a remarkable project was realized to the fullest customer satisfaction",


summarizes Rittmeyer Austria Managing Director Wolfgang Kaiblinger.

Changes and malfunctions are visualized via the custom object-oriented interface enabling the operator to have an easy and rapid intervention. Plant director Dipl.-Ing. Schernthanner commented: "The consistent solution with clear plant-specific graphical interfaces designed by Rittmeyer guarantees us safe and intuitive operation."

Power plant Rotgülden

The storage power plant was built in the 1950s to secure the power supply of the Lungau region. Due to the increase in electricity demand, the power plant was expanded in 1967 and the water intake was extended through the Pölitz reservoir and the Mur stage. In 2022, the powerhouse was rebuilt and its output was also increased by a new turbine. 

source: Wasserkraftwerk Rotgülden - Salzburg AG für Energie, Verkehr & Telekommunikation