Categories: Case study, Location: Northern Hungary, Hungary, Date: September, 2019
The Matra Power Plant is an example of a coal power plant transitioning into an industry cluster in which renewables play an increasingly important role. These efforts do not only retain the electricity generation capacity, but keep jobs in the region. The concept includes the development of an industrial park (IP) in order to create a cluster partnership with established companies in a region that is considered rural and structurally weak. It is also an example of a cost-effective approach to the industrial conversion of exhausted coal mines through the use of energy forests and photovoltaics (PV). In 2004, the Matra power plant started utilising biomass. This was not only a first step towards the use of more renewable sources in power production, but also the start of a new long-term strategy. At that time the Matra PP created an industrial park, which made it possible for further companies to set up and maintain a cluster together with the power plant. The strategy aims to attract companies and create a business relationship with them that is beneficial for both sides. The usage of surplus heat (e.g. from steam) from the power plant and the local utilisation of by-products from the companies in the industrial park is a central element in the cluster strategy (see figure below for cluster partnerships realised so far). The cluster strategy depends on the ability to secure a cost-effective heat and power supply even though in the long-term the use of lignite will be reduced (irrespective of whether this occurs sooner or later and whether it is motivated by climate reasons or the depletion of coal fields in the region).