Balzers line relocation

Swissgrid is investigating whether and how the extra-high-voltage line in Balzers can be relocated. The line supplies electricity to the Principality of Liechtenstein.

Your contact for this grid project

Jan Schenk
Jan Schenk

Phone +41 58 580 21 11
info@swissgrid.ch

220 kV line
220 kV line
Existing line
Existing line
Substation
Substation

Overview

The transmission line in the municipality of Balzers is part of the existing approximately 73-kilometre-long 220 kV transmission line from the Bonaduz substation to the Rüthi and Meiningen (AT) substations. The municipality of Balzers (FL) has indicated that it will not extend the expiring transit agreement. As a result, Swissgrid is investigating whether and how the existing line through the municipality of Balzers can be relocated.

The Rüthi – Bonaduz 220 kV extra-high-voltage line is part of the Swiss transmission grid and passes through the municipality of Balzers in Liechtenstein. The line is an important connection in the Swiss control area, which also includes the Principality of Liechtenstein. Swissgrid is responsible for ensuring efficient and stable grid operation throughout the entire control area. The line is an important element for the secure supply of electricity in eastern Switzerland and in the Principality of Liechtenstein. It is connected to the Swiss transmission grid via Swissgrid’s switching substations in Rüthi and Montlingen as well as via the Eschen switching substation operated by Liechtensteinische Kraftwerke (LKW).


Project

Options for the future line route in Balzers

Swissgrid has developed different technical options for the like-for-like replacement of the existing line in collaboration with an engineering office in Liechtenstein. Swissgrid considers three options to be technically feasible. These include overhead line as well as underground cable options:

  • Maintain the existing overhead line
    Continued operation of the 220 kV line along the existing route is part of the study of the various options. The line complies with all existing limits on protection from electromagnetic radiation and noise. Swissgrid ensures secure operation of the line as part of scheduled maintenance activities.
  • Relocate the current overhead line to the west between the Brüel district and the farms
    The overhead line route passes between the existing farms and the residential area over a distance of around two kilometres. The existing overhead line, which runs along the Balzers settlement area in the district of Brüel, will be dismantled. This option is technically straightforward and cost-effective.
  • Lay a section underground along field paths in the area of the current overhead line
    The underground cable route passes along the same route as the current overhead line. A route further west in the agricultural zone would be technically feasible, but it would be time-consuming and expensive from a construction perspective. Two transition structures are required to connect the overhead line to the underground cable. These will be placed outside the settlement areas. The existing overhead line near the Brüel settlement area will be dismantled. The underground options are around 3 to 5 times more expensive than the overhead line versions.

These small-scale adjustment options could be implemented in a few years if the overall process progresses smoothly. However, it must be noted that it will not be possible to implement any option involving underground laying (particularly one that still needs to be approved) until August 2021.

Swissgrid originally investigated the possibility of installing the extra-high-voltage line along the Swiss side of the Rhine dam. The options were examined in terms of the effects on the area, the environment, technology and costs. This examination identified considerable disadvantages due to the tight geographic conditions in Trübbach – Sargans (mountain, cantonal road, railway, motorway, Rhine dam). Swissgrid therefore did not further pursue line routing entirely outside of the municipality of Balzers.

General site plan Balzers
General site plan Balzers

Milestones

2019 – 2020 Detailed elaboration of the feasible options in cooperation with an engineering office in Liechtenstein
2021 Information issued to authorities, municipalities and the general public
from 2021 Construction project

The line for the Balzers route is part of the Rüthi – Bonaduz line. The line will be constructed for 380 kilovolts but will be operated only at 220 kilovolts. A 380 kV connection between Rüthi and Bonaduz is no longer included in the «Strategic Grid 2025», as it is not required for the security of supply up to 2025. The 220 kV connections are adequate for transporting energy from the existing power plants.

Contact with landowners

Until the future line route has been decided and implemented, Swissgrid must ensure that the existing overhead line remains in operation even after the expiration of the easement contracts in August 2021. Swissgrid is therefore obtaining the consent of the affected landowners to extend the transmission rights. This is a step that Swissgrid must take independent of the ongoing discussions with Liechtenstein authorities concerning a possible line relocation in Balzers.

The amount of compensation paid is based on the «Entschädigungsansätzen für elektrische Freileitungen» (Remuneration methods for electrical overhead lines) of the Association of Swiss Electricity Companies (VSE) and the Swiss Farmers’ Union (SBV), but under Liechtenstein law


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