Engineer József Szekeres, who supervised the construction of the power plant, recalls: “At the end of September 1963, the main building's first 50-megawatt boiler was fired up and tested to see if the smoke would rise up the 200-metre-high chimney. It was a great success when a huge cloud of smoke appeared above the ‘concrete queen’.”
That first cloud of smoke was just the beginning. Dunamenti power plant turned into a great example of continuous transformation over the past six decades of energy transition. Four other steam cycle plants were erected in the 1960s, and six more in the 1970s, combusting distillates, later converted to natural gas.
With the addition of the first two combined cycle gas turbine units in Hungary, and further improvements made in the 1990s, the power plant was privatised and sold to the Belgian energy company Tractabel in 1995. Later on, GDF Suez became the majority shareholder in Electrabel. While the units from the 1960s got decommissioned, an F-class combined cycle gas turbine was built in the 2000s.
MET Group became majority owner in 2014 by acquiring the 75% majority ownership from GDF Suez, while MVM Group retained its 25% share. The dismantling program continued with the plants from the 1970s, along with a long-term vision to repurpose the power station in the era of decarbonization.
Dunamenti has become a kind of a sandbox of energy transition in the last couple of years. A 21 MW photovoltaic project, MET Dunai Solar Park started commercial operation on the site of the power plant in 2018. MET Group was also the first company in Hungary to install a Tesla Megapack energy storage system in 2022 to support the shift from fossil fuels to renewables.
In September 2023, a new high-voltage electrode boiler-based power-to-heat plant has been commissioned on the site, which provides balancing capacity to the power grid, while transforming excess electricity for heating – this time without carbon emissions.
“MET Group has been transforming the Dunamenti power station since we acquired it. The site already houses various zero-carbon technologies, such as a PV and a battery storage plant. We envisage further steps with the expansion of the battery storage and power-to-heat capacities on the site,” said Péter Horváth, CEO of the Dunamenti Power Plant.