MVM Mátra Energy Ltd. (formerly Mátra Power Plant Corp.) and its subsidiaries were acquired by the MVM Group on 26 March 2020. The owner's goal is to use the lifetime and production capacity of the existing production units as long as possible, and to replace the existing units with modern, carbon-saving and economically productive units in the short term. The coal-fired power plant is responsible for approximately14 % of the total domestic carbon-dioxide emission, so it is essential to develop its technology in order to support achieving Hungary’s carbon-neutral goals of 2050 in line with the National Energy and Climate Policy. The professional background of the parent company guarantees the smooth operation of the supply system during the transition process. Realising the green vision of the company, phasing-out coal technology is in line with the objectives of the EU Energy and Climate Policy as well, which provides opportunities for the company to apply for significant EU funding for the transition. Due to the reassessment of energy security and electricity supply issues, the possibility and necessity of extending the lifetime of existing lignite-fired generation units until the end of 2029 and the conditions for their continued operation are under examination, in accordance with Government Decision 1452/2022 (19.IX.).
The modernisation of the Mátra power plant will be one of the most significant energy projects in Hungary in the next 10 years from 2023.
5 pillars of the modernization programme:
1. Combined Cycle Gas Turbine unit of 500-650 MW capacity (CCGT)
Installation of a natural gas-fired power generating gas turbine unit, which has high efficiency, low CO2 intensity and can be regulated flexibly. Its annual electricity generation will be nearly 4 TWh. By replacing lignite-fired generation units with natural gas-fired units in the short term, 6% of Hungary's total annual CO2 emissions could be saved. In the future the gas turbine will be also suitable to use hydrogen produced on site as a fuel in a ratio of ~30% resulting further significant reduction of CO2. The unit has fast ramp-up and -down rates, which makes it the best complement to photovoltaic capacity from a technical and economic point of view, with current and medium-term technological advances. In this way, the establishment of a CCGT unit could enable the installation of additional PV parks. The project preparation has been completed and MVM Mátra Energy Ltd. has obtained the priority environmental and construction permits.
2. RDF / biomass-fired unit of 38-45 MW capacity
At present the power plant generates electricity of ~480 GWh/year by burning biomass/RDF of ~400,000 t/year. By the planned shutdown of the lignite-fired units after 2025, this amount of biomass/RDF would no longer be used for energy purposes, as they are currently fired by co-firing technology. It makes the further development and extension of the existing supply system and infrastructure reasonable. The project has been prepared and the priority permits have been obtained by MVM Mátra Energy Ltd.
3. Implementation of photovoltaic solar parks with the capacity of 200 MW on recultivated mining areas
In the recultivated areas of the Visonta and Bükkábrány mines, new solar parks with the capacity of up to 2x100 MW are expected to be installed in the prepared areas. The PV installations will start in accordance with the recultivation schedule of the mines. In parallel with the implementation of solar power plants, the construction of P2G type energy storage based on hydrogen production technology is also planned in line with Hungary’s National Hydrogen Strategy, which facilitates the integration of solar power plants into the electricity system. The preparation of the construction sites has been completed and the licensing procedures are in progress.
4. CCSU pilot project - CO2 capture, storage and utilization
Plans include the implementation of a pilot project using CCSU (Carbon Capture Storage and Utilization) technology, which will mainly involve the capture of CO2 from the flue gas of the gas turbine units, its storage, and utilization at product level, as well as being related to the use of green hydrogen produced by the solar power plants. The pilot project can prepare the ground for the installation of a commercial-scale CCS power plant unit capable of using other carbon dioxide sources later on, and plays a pioneering role in the field of CO2 recovery.
5. Industry development
The fifth pillar of our modernization programme is based on the special production and service capacities of Mátra Power Plant and its subsidiaries. Technological transition of the power plant will be realised in the framework of a complex area development programme, which secures keeping the available skilled staff longer in work. The goal of area development is to provide a liveable natural and predictable economic environment for both the population and the employers.
With its 2,000 employees, MVM Mátra Energy is one of the largest employers of the region. Together with its subsidiaries and partners of its industrial park, it supports the livelihood of nearly 3,000 families. That is why it is essential to maintain jobs during the transition to an environmentally friendly operation, and to make them sustainable in a longer term. Realising the green vision of the facility, phasing-out coal technology is also in line with the objectives of the EU Energy and Climate Policy, thus, EU tender resources can significantly contribute to financing the transformation process.
- LIFE-IP North-HU-Trans project
A project with a total budget of HUF 5.2 billion over 9 years with retraining and corporate mobilization programmes. In addition, it implements complex planning, testing and evaluation for the decarbonisation of the power plant, the recultivation of mining areas, the promotion of energy-efficiency and regional green transport solutions.
Subsidy of more than one hundred billion forints can be applied for in the framework of the so-called 10c mechanism, which can be called in the form of free CO2 allowances to be distributed to electricity generating facilities for the modernization, diversification and sustainable transformation of the energy sector.
Just Transition Fund providing subsidy to areas facing heavy social and economic challenges due to the transition to a climate-neutral EU economy to be achieved by 2050. The further employment of employees is a high priority even after the termination of coal-fired electricity generation. The current mining activity is partly shifting to recultivation tasks, therefore part of the miners can be further employed in the mines. In addition, employees of Mátra will play a major role in the preparation of establishment of the planned state-of-the-art power plants. During the process of transition and future operation, the owner pays special attention to the skilled manpower available in the power plant and the mines, their retraining, and their employment in the new activities.
The transition to new operation and the new economic capacities will result in sustainable jobs and a more liveable environment in the region in the long run.