AROUND THE WORLD IN 46 YEARS
Solid competence and experience have made Schubert Elektroanlagen an internationally sought-after specialist for electric equipment in power station engineering.
Projects involving the careful revitalisation of existing facilities form an important part of Schubert’s success story, which began in a small workshop in the Lower Austrian town of St Pölten in 1965.
Inquique, Chile – June 23, 2011: the invitees attending the ceremony are clapping and cheering. Representatives of the Alto Hospicio and the nearby town have just ceremoniously pressed the start button for the construction of a new drinking water power plant. From now on, the precious liquid flowing through the supply network will not only serve as drinking water to the population, but also as the powerful driving force for the plant’s one-megawatt Francis turbine. In his press interviews after the ceremony, Santiago Hernando, managing director of local water supplier Aquas del Altiplano, expresses his pride and profound satisfaction in this achievement, emphasising his great appreciation for the work of the “compañeros from Austria”. Change of scene: when in March 2010 the light bulbs come flashing on in the region north of the Antarctic circle, they are no longer powered by the old diesel generators. Electricity is instead provided to the existing stand-alone grid by two 7.5 megawatt Francis turbines of the newly constructed hydropower station. The recipients on the other end of the grid are several remote villages tucked away in the fjords of Greenland, which now enjoy a steady supply of clean energy. March 2010: landing in Tansania, control electronics specialist Martin Binder arrives with some precious cargo: a brand-new digital turbine control unit. After an eventful journey to the southern part of the East African country, he is about to revive an existing Kössler turbine at a local hydropower station with the hands-on assistance of several nuns of the local Benedictine convent. Apart from the convent, the power generation facility – the only one within a 250 km radius – also supplies a hospital, a school and several small businesses in the area.
COMPETENCE WITH WORLDWIDE APPEAL
…from Chile to Greenland and Tansania, from India to Panama, to Turkey, Peru and Finland. The list of reference projects is virtually endless. “By now, our specialists are busy all over the world, says Lothar Wessely, head of the Energy division at Schubert Elektroanlagen in commenting on the firm’s international outlook. “We support our partners during all stages of planning, implementation and start-up of electro-technical equipment in the construction of hydropower plants. This includes anything from the smallest sensor to the handover of entire facilities and connection to the power grid.” It was early on in its history that the family-owned firm with its head office in Ober-Grafendorf in Lower Austria began to take some smart strategic decisions, which provided the solid foundation for its success today: “We started out as specialists for switchgear solutions. Since then we have developed gradually into a provider of comprehensive product and service solutions for the energy supply industry,” explains Christian Schwarzenbohler, Group Leader for Power Plant Technology at Schubert. “From the very start, our intense focus on quality and competence has brought us together with partner firms who had very similar priorities and ways of doing things. Some of these partnerships have since grown into long-term cooperations that have been lasting for decades, as in the case of turbine manufacturers Voith and Kössler.”
It is not just newly built facilities but the revitalisation of existing ones that has earned the firm an excellent reputation over the previous decades. Proof of this comes in the form of a large cabinet stuffed with old planning documents - a treasure chest that keeps this knowledge safe for future generations. “In the hydropower business we’re used to thinking in terms of decades - centuries even,” says Wessely about this classic alpine method of generating power. “This is particularly obvious in Austria, where the focus is on keeping old power stations in their original condition instead of just replacing them with new ones.” However, they still have to be technically fit for the future. Wessely knows how: “This may sound a little overly dramatic, but we have always approached projects like this one with a humble appreciation for traditional engineering and fine craftsmanship. Our main priority is to keep these visible for everyone to see.”