Austria is restarting its largest coal-fired power plant for electricity production amid a reduction in Russian natural gas supply.
The country’s largest and most valuable utility company, Verbund AG, was reportedly ordered Sunday night to prepare its Mellach coal station for operation. The plant, which is 200 km (124 miles) south of Vienna, was closed two years ago after the country decided to completely remove coal from its power grid. It became a hub for researchers looking for ways to safely feed hydrogen fuel into the power grid.
“The government and Verbund have agreed to convert the Mellach district heating plant, which is currently closed, so that electricity can be produced again from coal in an emergency.” Chancellor Karl Nehammer’s coalition said in a statement seen by the outlet.
Other European nations, including France, Germany and the UK, have also announced plans to expand the use of coal-fired power to offset Russia’s natural gas shortage.
According to the report, Austria’s gas storage tanks currently contain only 39% of the country’s annual needs.