Austria Revives Coal-Fired Power Plants as a Protective Measure Against Russia’s Decline in Gas Supply


The Austrian government has decided to use coal-fired power to produce electricity in case a reduction in Russia’s gas supply causes an energy emergency in the country.

“The federal government and energy group VERBUND have agreed to remodel the currently closed Mellach district heating power plant, which will again produce electricity from coal (not gas) in an emergency. You will be able to do it, “Karl’s office in Nehammer said in a statement. Reuters..

Mellach was the last coal-fired power plant in Austria. It was converted to a gas plant and went into standby in 2020.

Currently, Austria’s gas storage facilities are 39 percent full. This number should rise to 80 percent by October 2022 to ensure that the country is ready for the heating season. According to the Prime Minister, the most important thing at this point is to make sure that the “acute gas demand” is being met and the “winter gas supply” is being created. local..

Plant operators estimate that it will take time to make the necessary changes to the Mellach plant and purchase the right coal for combustion. The government plans to put the Mellach plant up and running within a few months, the Department of Energy told the local outlet Der Standard.

The Austrian government’s decision comes from supplying only half of the gas promised by Moscow.Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom Recently notified Austrian OMV energy company told AFP that it would receive a “reduction in deliveries”.

Currently, lost volumes can be “replaced with storage volumes” and there is also “volume from the spot market” so there is no need to worry about supply, OMV said.

Austria gets 80 percent of its gas from Moscow. In May, the Austrian government announced an emergency plan to be triggered if Russia cut off its gas supply.

In the short term, the plan focuses on expanding the existing gas supply relationship with Norway in Austria and initiating talks between Qatar and North Korean companies. Long-term measures include using non-Russian gases to increase strategic gas reserves from 7.4 terawatt hours (TWh) to 20 TWh.

Germany has also decided to start coal-fired power to reduce Russia’s dependence on gas. On June 14, Gazprom announced that it would reduce the flow of natural gas to Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline by about 60%.

On June 19, the German Ministry of Economy announced that idle coal-fired power plants have been upgraded to start generating electricity soon. The emergency law permits the use of coal to generate electricity for a limited time until March 2024.

Germany’s decision to use coal-fired power plants is made despite the passage of a law in 2020 to phase out coal use by 2038.

Naveen Athrappully


Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter on business and global events in The Epoch Times.