Austrian Parliament

Power Distribution in the Austrian Parliament

The history of the Austrian Parliament goes back to the first parliamentary body, the Reichstag. This was founded after the revolution of 1848 with the objective of achieving a constitution. In those days, the sessions of the two houses, the Herrenhaus (House of Lords) and the Abgeordnetenhaus (House of Representatives), were held in two different buildings. In 1871, it was decided to construct a new parliamentary building for both houses.

The architect Theophil Freiherr von Hansen was entrusted with the monumental project. He based the style of the Viennese parliamentary building on Green antiquity since important constitutional law concepts, such as "politics" and "democracy", originated with the ancient Greeks. Hansen made a further symbolic gesture by using materials from almost all the crown lands of the Austrian monarchy in the construction of the building, which was to stand for the gathering of all the powers of the "kingdoms and countries represented in the Imperial council". Even in those days, the building was provided with imposing technical equipment, such as a heating installation of its own and a ventilation system that was almost revolutionary for the times.

Operational reliability

During the Second World War, the building underwent partial destruction but during its later restoration, value was attached to ensuring it extensive power autonomy. This is because the prerequisites for the smooth functioning of the National Council and the Federal Council, as the two houses of the Austrian parliament have been known since the republic of Austria was declared, have to be ensured at all times in general and in cases of disaster in particular. For this reason, the last time the electric power system was due for renewal, pride of place was accorded to operational reliability.
In the process, the parliamentary head office examined a number of reference installations during an extensive assessment phase. This led to the choice in favour of the MODAN 6000 modular switchgear system by Moeller, not least due to its balanced price/performance ratio.

Uninterruptible power supply

The electrical energy supply system essentially comprises two transformer supply units delivering 800 kVA, whereby the possibility to upgrade to 1000 kVA is also provided for. The power supplied by the electric utility is fed via each of these transformer units to a switchable busbar system. A 1000 kVA generator is also linked to the busbar parallel to the transformer feed. During normal mains supply, the generator acts as a motor driving a flywheel, but in the event of a mains failure, the flywheel drives the generator instead, thus providing an uninterrupted power supply for the short period until the diesel unit comes into operation.

The design concept called for the existing main low-voltage distribution centre to be replaced with minimum of interruption by a MODAN 6000 distribution system featuring MDPW/MDMW withdrawable-unit technology. The main low-voltage distribution centre comprises 20 panels, plus two panels with reactive current compensation. In addition, a seven-panel MODAN 6000 distribution system with motor starter outputs featuring withdrawable-unit technology has also been installed to serve the air-conditioning system.

All feeds, couplings, energy outputs and motor starters have been implemented as circuit breakers/remote-controlled switchgroups. This allows selective monitoring of functions statuses, and permits the systems to be controlled either locally via the individual control panels at the withdrawable units themselves, or from the central control console.

Remote control

All data from the MODAN 6000 energy distributors is acquired on a decentralised basis by EM4 expansion modules / LE4 local expansion units, and forwarded via the Suconet K field bus to the higher-level PS416 automation system. This system undertakes all control tasks at the distributors, including automatic transfer switching.
A ZenOn-VIS PC-based process visualisation system is connected to the PS416 automation system via a SUCOM-A interface. Operating conditions are displayed on a touch-sensitive 21” colour monitor in the form of block diagrams and switch panel layout plans. In addition, individual feed, coupling and output control functions can be remotely controlled via the visualisation system. A linked colour printer provides a record of any system errors that may occur.