Austria phases out coal with the closure of the Verbund's 246 MW Mellach plant
- Apr 22, 2020 3:43 pm GMTApr 22, 2020 3:26 pm GMT
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The Austrian power generation group Verbund has stopped the 246 MW coal-fired district heating plant at Mellach, which was the last operational coal-fired unit in Austria, at the expiry of the heat supply contract with the city of Graz (Austria). The plant will be kept operational for back-up, using gas to produce power to avoid bottlenecks and supraregional power grid support. In 2011, Verbund commissioned an 832 MW CCGT plant on the Mellach site. The company intends to transform Verbund into an innovation hub. A pilot plant for high-temperature electrolysis and fuel cell operation has already been built, in which electricity is converted into hydrogen. Verbund is also testing large battery storage systems for use as buffer storage.
According to the #mission2030 strategy, Austria plans to cover 100% of total national electricity consumption from renewable energy sources by 2030 (up from 73% in 2018). With the closure of Mellach, Austria becomes the second EU country to exit coal-fired power generation, after Belgium. By 2025, seven other EU countries are expected to stop coal-fired power generation, namely France (2022), Sweden (2022), Slovakia (2023), Portugal (2023), the United Kingdom (2024), Ireland (2025) and Italy (2025). Another 5 could follow by 2030, namely Greece (2028), the Netherlands (2029), Finland (2029), Hungary (2030), and Denmark (2030). Germany will exit coal in 2038 and the Czech Republic, Spain and non-EU North Macedonia are considering exiting coal too.