London — Austrian utility Verbund has returned its 210 MW coal-fired Mellach power station to the market for a final quarter of generation before being converted to burn natural gas, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.
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Verbund triggered an opt-out clause in the plant's congestion management contract with grid operator APG, allowing it to return to the wholesale market to the end of March, Verbund said in a transparency note on EEX.
The utility's 831 MW gas plant at Mellach remains under a grid reserve contract until end-September 2021, Verbund said.
The Mellach coal plant was commissioned in 1986 and provides Graz with heat. It is to close after this winter's heating season, five years earlier than planned.
The Mellach gas plant was commissioned in 2012. Negative generation spreads prompted Verbund to move the unit first into mothballs and then into a grid reserve contract with APG starting 2018. The plant is used to balance the network.
Verbund and German hydrogen specialist Sunfire are currently testing the use of green hydrogen as a substitute for natural gas at Mellach with the Hotflex research project running for three years until 2022.
A special feature of the small-scale electrolyzer project is that it can operate in reverse mode as a fuel cell, it said.