A disused coal-fired power plant in Austria’s Styria is to be prepared in case the country runs out of gas. According to Leonore Gewessler, Austria’s green energy minister, it should once again be able to generate electricity and heat from coal.
Austria is restarting its largest coal-fired power plant for electricity generation after natural gas supplies from Russia fell. That reported Bloomberg on Monday.
The country’s largest and most valuable company, Verbund AG, was reportedly ordered late Sunday to prepare the Mellach coal-fired power plant for operation. The power plant, 200 kilometers south of Vienna, was shut down two years ago after the country decided to completely ban coal-fired power from its grid. The facility has been converted into a center for research into the safe injection of hydrogen into the power grid.
According to the news agency, which refers to a statement by Chancellor Karl Nehammer, the Austrian government and Verbund have agreed to convert the Mellach district heating plant, which is currently shut down, so that electricity can be generated there again from coal in an emergency.
According to Austria’s Green Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler, the conversion will take months. However, the Verbund Group is working flat out on it. The aim is to reduce dependence on Russia so as not to be open to blackmail. The minister emphasized:
“It will take years for Austria.”
Other European countries, including France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, have also announced plans to expand coal-fired power generation to fill shortages of natural gas from Russia.
According to Bloomberg, Austria’s gas storage facilities currently contain only 39 percent of the country’s annual needs.
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