Friday, 06. December 2013 - 12:12
22. 06. 12. - 19:00
Austria’s most powerful new thermal power plant has gone live after it was inaugurated this week in Mellach, Styria,
Austria’s most modern thermal power plant replaces a total of five old thermal power plants that were fired with lignite or oil.
As a result, the new CCGT saves up to two million tons of CO2 annually. Given that operation is highly flexible and not dependent on the weather, the Mellach CCGT will become the backbone of the secure power supply in Austria.
The long-established VERBUND location in Mellach/Styria was Austria’s largest power plant construction site for three whole years. Up to 1,200 tradesmen were busy on site at any one time, putting in a total of over three million hours of work in Mellach. The result of their effort is the Mellach CCGT, Austria’s most modern thermal power plant.
When online, the new CCGT will save up to two million tons of CO2 a year. Combined electricity and heat generation means that the plant can produce clean, particulate-free district heating of an unprecedented environmental standard for the Graz area.
With a capacity of 838 megawatts (MW), the Mellach CCGT is the most powerful power plant in Austria. Some 1.4 million homes can therefore count on a reliable power supply from Mellach, even when the fluctuating electricity generated by wind and solar plants is not available because of the weather.
At the heart of the two generators are highly efficient gas turbines manufactured by Siemens in Berlin. With the downstream steam turbines, the power plant achieves electric efficiency of 59.2% and if steam is recovered for district heating its efficiency can be increased to virtually 80%, thus making the best possible use of natural gas as the fuel.
The general conditions for gas-fired power plants continue to remain challenging. Firstly, huge subsidies are available for expanding wind and solar power although it fluctuates considerably. And secondly, the profitability of gas power plants supplementing supply throughout Europe is limited.
What is responsible for this are the still relatively low wholesale prices for electricity on the one hand and long-term, oil index-linked and therefore expensive gas supply contracts on the other.
Due to these circumstances VERBUND’s half year results will from today’s perspective be adversely affected by the Mellach CCGT.
In the medium term, however we can expect demand for capacity to rise on the European electricity market, ensuring that gas-fired power plants can be operated economically.
VERBUND is Austria’s leading utility and one of the largest producers of hydroelectricity in Europe. The Group generates more than four fifths of its electricity from hydropower, supplemented with thermal and wind power.
Including its equity interests, VERBUND serves over four million consumers and trades electricity in 19 countries. In 2011, annual revenue totalled €3.9 billion with around 3,000 employees. With its subsidiaries and partners, VERBUND is involved in generating, transmitting and supplying electricity, international trading and distribution. Since 1988, VERBUND has been quoted on the Vienna stock exchange, with 51% of the share capital being held by the Republic of Austria.
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