A vacation highlight between nature and technology

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Back in June I published one of my first Tractebel News about the new “Limberg III” hydropower project. Now I came face to face with this imposing wonder-world of technology in the high mountains of Kaprun.

Vacation planning 2.0

During my vacation in the Austrian region of Zell am See-Kaprun, it quickly became clear that I would visit the Wasserfallboden and Mooserboden reservoirs. After all, the hydropower of these two lakes is what drives “Limberg III”. This made me curious.

One’s attention is already drawn to the construction of the new pumped storage power plant “Limberg III” down at the ticket booth. A small flyer provides information about the construction project, planned by my colleagues from the “Hydropower and Water Resources Division”. I wanted to see it with my own eyes.

“The path is the true destination”

It takes 45 minutes and over 3 stages to reach the two reservoirs Wasserfallboden and Mooserboden at about 2,040 m above sea level. I cover the first stage by bus, which takes all visitors to the inclined Lärchwand lift – a technical sensation. Europe’s largest open inclined lift has room for 185 people and takes us to an altitude of 431 meters in just 4 minutes.

Once at the top, I get back on the bus. As soon as we leave the first tunnel, I catch a glimpse of the glittering turquoise water of the Wasserfallboden reservoir. The Limberg dam and the Limberg II powerhouse also become visible as the bus takes us further into the wild nature at the border to the Hohe Tauern National Park, curve after curve.

Interplay of nature and technology

At the Mooserboden reservoir, the imposing dam wall immediately catches the eye. The Moosersperre dam rises almost vertically to a height of 107 m and bends between the rocks for a length of 494 m. It is hard to imagine that these walls hold back a water mass of up to 160 million m³. Absolutely impressed I start my hike over the dam wall up to the Höhenburg viewpoint.

Arriving at 2,108 m, I am rewarded with a spectacular view. Only now do I grasp the whole interplay of nature and technology. Almost like fjords, the two reservoirs lie to one side, embedded in the majestic mountain landscape with its snow-covered peaks and lush green meadows dotted with rivers and waterfalls. On the other side, bordered by massive concrete giants – absolutely impressive! From up, the hydropower becomes almost tangible.f.l.t.r. Reservoir Mooserboden, Moosersperre dam, Reservoir Wasserfallboden, Limbergsperre dam

Hydropower project and vacation highlight

Every year, around 150,000 tourists visit the Kaprun reservoirs. They are considered a top excursion destination in Salzburger Land. No wonder, because visitors are offered a lot – from tours of the dam wall, hiking tours, the “Erlebniswelt Strom” exhibition to the via ferrata arena with Europe’s highest via ferrata on a dam wall.

With all the leisure activities, one almost forgets the actual task of the imposing structure. Behind the mighty dam walls and underground, numerous turbines run at full speed and generate around 700 million kilowatt hours of electricity. This is enough energy to supply about 200,000 households for 1 year. “Limberg III” is intended to increase the output by 480 MW. Construction work is in full swing. Apart from a few construction vehicles and a large construction site, however, tourists do not notice much of this project.
Europe’s highest via ferrata

Symbol of the future

The Kaprun power plants have always stood for both the future and progress. After the Second World War, Kaprun became a symbol of reconstruction throughout Austria. The construction of the power plant gave the entire country self-confidence and hope. After the official commissioning in 1955, the victorious battle against the forces of nature went down in history as the “Myth of Kaprun”. Even today, the reservoirs are regarded as a wonderland of technology and a symbol of the future. The best proof: Limberg III. 

The harmonious interaction of nature and technology is unique. A magnificent example of how a hydroelectric project can become a top tourist attraction. My conclusion: A highly recommended visit.

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