Inland navigation on the Austrian Danube is of high economic importance. It contributes significantly to the regional economy. Especially river cruises enjoy growing numbers of passengers, ships and berthings – a development that poses challenges for the environment and local residents. If shore power units are missing at the berths, diesel generators are employed for the supply of the electronic equiment on resting cruise vessels. In order to reduce noise emission and pollution levels at highly frequented hot spots and to take the steady growth of the shipping sector into account with modern infrastructural solutions, a contemporary energy concept is needed.
Particularly in agglomerations and environmentally sensitive areas an efficient and ecologically viable energy supply of the shipping sector is essential in order to boost sustainably the business location as well as the competitiveness and environmental performance of the waterway as mode of transport. By connecting inland vessels to the local power grid, diesel generators can be switched off during berthing and, therefore, noise and exhaust gases for local residents, ship crews and passengers can be reduced significantly. In the Federal Republic of Germany, in towns such as Würzburg, Regensburg and Passau, the implementation of state-of-the-art systems for shore-side energy supply has begun – with the objective to offer the best possible service for the user. These initiatives can serve also as a foundation for the Austrian Danube.
Guideline planning for shore power supply – how we succeed
viadonau supports this modernisation project and coordinates on behalf of the BMVIT the development of a guideline planning across federal states for the installation and operation of shore power units along the Austrian Danube. The coordination with the responsible stakeholders of the federal states Upper Austria, Lower Austria and Vienna happens within the framework of working group meetings. Thus, all parties (grid operators, power suppliers, berth operators as well as representatives of the federal states) benefit from the exchange of experience and know-how across federal states. Due to the involvement of Bavarian stakeholders into this guideline planning, consistent standards across borders shall be ensured.
The guideline planning, coordinated by viadonau, covers the technical specification of shore power units, cost-efficiency studies as well as the development of a primarily organisational concept (incl. access and charging system). The guideline planning shall ensure a consistent and clear shore power system along the Austrian Danube and serve as a foundation for the subsequent implementation and operation of shore power units.
An ambitious schedule
The schedule, coordinated with the stakeholders of the federal states, foresees to finalise the guideline planning by the end of 2019. The detailed planning for the shore power units, the conduction of the official procedures as well as the installation of the units could, therefore, already follow in 2020 – in order to implement these steps, future shore power operators are currently under discussion in the federal states. Thus, the first shore power connections could be used already in 2021.