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Mátrai Erőmű plans gas-fueled block, solar parks

Mátrai Erőmű, the second-biggest generator of electricity in Hungary, plans to add a 500 MW gas-fueled combined-cycle block at its plant in Visonta (80 km northeast of Budapest) and install solar parks with a combined capacity of 440 MW at its lignite mines which are gradually being recultivated, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Zoltán Orosz, the plantʼs head of strategy, said Mátrai Erőmű also wants a dedicated block for biomass and refuse-derived fuel as part of the plantʼs transformation into "an innovative, renewables-based site for generating electricity with a smaller environmental footprint".

Orosz noted that the plantʼs existing blocks, with a nameplate capacity of 950 MW, have permits to operate until the end of 2025.

He said the acquisition of Mátrai Erőmű by the state-owned Hungarian Electricity Works (MVM) in the spring would provide a basis for the continued operation of the plant during its transformation as well as the preservation of as many of its more than 4,500 workers as possible. Miners will be reassigned to recultivation work and to other planned power plant developments, he added.

Mátrai Erőmű has five coal-fueled blocks, built in the 1960ʼs and 70ʼs, and two gas turbines built in the 2000ʼs. It has two open-pit lignite mines, in Visonta and in Bükkábrány, about 60 km away. The plant accounts for close to 14% of domestic electricity generation.