VERBUND Mellach Power Plant Project Environmentally Sound


The Mellach power plant project of VERBUND, Austria’s leading electricity company, is environmentally sound. This was the conclusion reached by the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) conducted by the Styrian provincial government to assess the gas-fired, 850 MW thermal electricity power plant south of Graz.

VERBUND General Manager Hans Haider comments: “This is an important step for the long-term security of supply for the low-generation region of southern Austria, and a markedly positive signal for our project regarding the smaller affiliated, 400 MW power plant near Klagenfurt.”

The sponsor of the 400 million Euro project Mellach, to be commissioned in 2009, is VERBUND subsidiary VERBUND Austrian Thermal Power GmbH & Co KG (ATP). By the end of April 2005, ATP had submitted the EIA documentation for Mellach to the Styrian authorities, which now have issued a positive notice. ATP CEO Oswin Kois comments: “The timely information of the residents and a two-year preparation period for the EIA procedures were greeted with approval by both the population and the authorities.”

“The state-of-the-art power plant, capable of generating both electricity and district heat with an immensely high degree of effectiveness of 80 %, will provide for a domestic added value of 130 million Euro even throughout the construction process,” adds ATP CEO Anton Smolak. “And, once the plant has become operational, there will be an additional 5 million Euro annually of added value.” Around 600 persons are employed in the power plant construction works; once the plant has been commissioned, 20 permanent job positions will be made available.

Thanks to the implementation of state-of-the-art technology, the new power plant is compliant with the strictest of European guidelines, thus guaranteeing high environmental soundness. The plant is operated exclusively through natural gas, one of the cleanest firing fuels containing neither sulphur nor dust nor heavy metals. The emission of carbon dioxide is a mere 45 % of the emissions of a modern coal-fired power plant. Another positive aspect, one particularly important because of the fine dust problem, is the securing and possible expansion of district heating in the greater Graz area. Mr Smolak says: “So we, from VERBUND, are introducing the newest generation worldwide of thermal power plant technology to Styria.”

Nonetheless, there are also a few objections to the Mellach project. These are now being looked into by the appellate authority, the environmental senate. Mr Kois comments: “We are confident that we will receive a positive feedback here also.”