Gletscherbahnen Kaprun AG has been using sustainable energy for years. And in addition to its own photovoltaic systems on company buildings, the Kitzsteinhorn itself generates energy from the meltwater with the Grubbach small power plant.
Electricity in the summer, snow in the winter
The first expansion stage of this combined pump and hydroelectric power station with two turbines was put into operation back in 2012 - from now on, a third turbine will provide electricity in summer and snow in winter. Because the special feature of this self-directed energy production: If you pull the lever in autumn, water is pumped through the pipes from the large high-mountain reservoirs Moserboden and Wasserfallboden directly into the snow-making systems on the Kitzsteinhorn. In the high alpine area of the Kitzsteinhorn, no additional storage ponds have to be created for snowmaking. In the spring, the meltwater from a large catchment area is collected in the Langwied catchment basin and continuously fed to the power plant via a 2 km long pipeline and 460 vertical meters.
1.2 million kWh of electricity
For board director Ing. Norbert Karlsböck another milestone on the "green path" towards sustainability: "By strengthening the hydroelectric power plant with the third turbine, we can now generate a third of the electricity required for snowmaking ourselves - a very positive contribution to the energy balance. With just two turbines we were able to generate 900,000 kWh per year - with the third turbine in use we generate 1.2 million kWh of annual energy," says Karlsböck.
Snowmaking and the operation of a ski area require electricity, which has been provided by the electricity supplier from renewable energy for many years. The Kitzsteinhorn continues to work on decarbonization through its own electricity production, numerous energy efficiency measures, the use of e-buses in local ski bus transport and investments in more efficient snow-making systems. The 700,000 euros that have now been invested in the machine set for the third turbine are also an important milestone in sustainable action on the Kitzsteinhorn.