Central points of this forward-looking concept will be the quick construction of the urgently needed 380 kV Styria transmission line, the planning and construction of a modern, environmentally-compatible gas power station south of Graz, and the scheduled closure of the Voitsberg brown coal power station.
Mr. Haider will underscore the benefits of the Styria package: "The realization of these projects will not only secure a guaranteed electricity supply for Styria. The 500 million Euro investment would also be a substantial stimulation for Styria’s economy".
If you look at it in detail, the energy package for Styria - including its timing - offers a number of economic and ecologic advantages for all of Austria. The completion of the 380 kV Styria transmission line will eliminate a gap that is already worrying those responsible for energy supply in Styria. If all goes well, the gap can be plugged by 2006. The project will require a capital commitment in the amount of approx. 130 million euros by VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG (APG). It will offer the Styrian electricity customers unlimited and guaranteed access to the vital resource of electricity on the basis of an efficient infrastructure.
As far as the future of the Voitsberg brown coal power station after the year 2006 is concerned, Mr. Haider will underline that a continuation of the operation cannot be justified for economic and ecological reasons. The awarding of the stranded costs to Voitsberg was linked to the shutdown of the mining operation by 2004 and the closure of the power station by 2006 by the E.U. In case of non-compliance with the closure plan the subsidies that will have been paid for the plant closure by then will have to be paid back. From the standpoint of the Kyoto goals concerning the reduction of CO2 emission a continued operation of the Voitsberg power station would not be acceptable either. At any rate socially acceptable solutions will be found for the employees of the Voitsberg power station.
Both from an economic and from an ecological standpoint it will be much more reasonable to build a new gas power plant south of Graz that meets the most recent environmental standards in order to guarantee the electricity supply for Styria in the long run. According to Mr. Haider this investment - its estimated volume is 300 million Euro - is preferable not least due to fact that the electricity consumption is increasing from year to year. The site was selected to ensure its connection to the gas network and the high-voltage grid and to allow the use of the cogenerated heat for Graz.
With the presentation of the "Styria package for safe electricity supply" VERBUND underscores again its active role in the Austrian and in the Styrian energy policy. Mr. Haider: " VERBUND has proved its commitment to Styria time and again, showing that the future of this province is a matter of special concern to VERBUND. The proposals presented now express this attitude again".