VERBUND calls for “green light“ for Styria energy package


“We are now going to strongly push the Styria energy package, which includes a total investment of 674 million Euros in power plants and grids” declared VERBUND General Director Dipl.-Ing. Hans Haider today, Wednesday, at a press conference in Graz. “We are appealing to the Styrian provincial government to lend their full support to our projects.”

The goal of the energy package that is jointly supported by the Styrian Chamber of Labour and Commerce is to “electrically upgrade” the Styrian region in order to support its economic situation, and thereby keep thousands of jobs. The contributions of the VERBUND include the following large-scale projects: a 380 kV Styrian line, the Mellach gas combined-cycle power plant, two new power plants on the river Mur, and the Leoben power plant.

“Yesterday we submitted an environmental impact statement for the gas combined-cycle power plant in Mellach”, notes Haider. With a total investment of 400 million Euros, this project is well enough prepared that the authorities can now do their assessment. Haider adds: “We would like this environmental impact assessment (EIA) and our Styria line to be dealt with speedily so that this important infrastructure project for Styria can be done quickly.”

In relation to this, Haider also emphasised “that we have reached an important milestone with the Styria and Burgenland authorities’ positive EIA decision of March 21, 2005”. Analyses of recent blackouts, and those of past years, clearly showed the urgent priority of a 380 kV line in which 130 million Euros will be invested.

Other investments in the Styria economic region are planned by VERBUND with the set-up and operation of two Mur power plants in Gössendorf and Großsulz. Investments totalling 110 million Euros are planned for these two power plants.

In the fall of 2005, a small hydroelectric power plant in Leoben will be put into operation. The investment for this power plant is 34 million Euros.

After a positive EIA decision in 2006, the lion’s share of the “Styria energy package” will go to the Mellach project that will be fully operational by the beginning of 2009. “The gas combined-cycle power plant will provide for a regional creation of value of about 60 million Euros wherein between 100 and 600 persons will find jobs depending on the phase of construction”, stressed Dipl.-Ing. Anton Smolak, Managing Director of the VERBUND-Austrian Thermal Power GmbH & Co KG (ATP).

Smolak emphasised that with the use of the latest technologies, the new gas combined-cycle power plant fulfils the most stringent EU guidelines, thus guaranteeing high environmental compatibility. “With an output of 850 megawatts of electric power generation and long-distance heating production of 250 megawatts, the new gas combined-cycle power plant will achieve the highest degree of efficiency currently attainable at large-scale facilities. This has an efficiency rate of about 58% with electric power generation, and, in combination with long-distance heating, it increases to over 70 %. With such a high rate of efficiency, accompanied by only minor emissions, we are bringing the latest generation of power plant technology in the world to Styria”, remarks Smolak.

Above all, the construction of the new power plant will fill in the considerable gaps in power production in Southern Austria. These gaps have arisen due to the increased demand for power that has gone up by 2.8% annually since the year 2000.

Dr. Heinz Kaupa, Executive Director of the VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG (APG) remarked: “After the Styria and Burgenland authorities’ positive EIA decision, it is now our goal to enable the implementation of the project in agreement with the municipalities and property owners”. Kaupa adds: “Thus far, we have made compensation agreements with about one-third of the property owners”.

In their EIA decision that was made on the basis of reports drawn up by 26 experts from a total of 600 pages, the two provincial governments approved the project that prescribes 160 conditions. “We will of course scrupulously observe and fulfil every condition”, noted Kaupa.