Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Upper Austria Region, renewable energy in Upper Austria Region.
Upper Austria Region is located in the Northern part of Austria, the capital city is Linz. It is bordered by Bavaria and Czech Republic. With area 12,000 km2 and number of inhabitants 1.4 Mio, it consists of 15 districts and 445 municipalities (Figure 1). It is a highly industrialized region and a leading of technology and export region in Austria.
Renewable Energy Development
Renewable energy development in the Upper Austria Region is motivated by special interest of the Upper Austria Greens to a turn in energy policy and a desire to reach the Kyoto-Goals in correlation with climate change policy. Based on that aspiration, in February 2005, Upper Austria Climate Pact was signed by NGOs and the regional government. This pact contains commitment together to make Upper Austria Region become a model region in climate protection.
- 100% of the space heat (including hot water) and electricity come from renewable sources by 2030.
- By 2030: 3,000,000 m2 solar collectors (2,100,00 kWth), equalling 2.2 m2/inhabitant and about 25% heat comes from solar thermal.
- By 2010: 1,000,000 m2 solar collectors.
Currently, renewable energy sources accounts for 33% of total primary energy.
An Upper Australia objective (resolved in October 10th, 2007), green energy turn means:
- to the year 2030: CO2 emission up to 65%.
- up to the year 2030: complete exit from the use of oil and coal during warming and generation of current.
- energy efficiency and energy conservation.
- Additional regional employment of more than 10,800 persons up to 2009.
- Focus on research projects.
- Rate of unemployment is only 3%.
Climate Pact – CornerstonesSigned in February 2005 between NGOs and the regional government, with the aim to become a model region in climate protection. There are seven cornerstones in the climate pact. Following are cornerstones related to renewable energy:
- Phasing out of fossil fuels for heat production.
- Energy turn to green electricity.
- Energy efficiency: Upper Austria agreed to the Energy Efficiency guideline of the European Union as the first European Union.
Energy Action Plan
1994 – 1999:
- 30 % renewable energy (hydro, wood biomass, solar)
- Energy consumption in new housing reduced by 30%
- 15,000 jobs
2000 – 2010:
- Double biomass & solar: wood biomass 13 % (2007)
- 1% energy saving/year
- 1.5% energy savings in the public sector/year
2010 – 2030:
- 100 % space heating & electricity from renewable energy
- Reduction of heat demand by 39%
- Decreasing 65% CO2 emissions
- Reduction of heat demand by 39 %
- Covering 100 % of space heating and electricity form renewable sources
Energy Efficiency Program:
- Related to “Energy Service Directive”
- 1% energy saving/year
- 1.5% for the public sector
The regional government of Upper Austria committed itself to sustainable energy production and use by developing a comprehensive energy policy framework:
- Energy 21 program, 2000-2010, aimed at doubling the biomass and solar energy use.
- Energy Efficiency program, 2004-2010, aimed at achieving a 1% annual energy saving in the region and increasing energy efficiency for public buildings by 1.5% every year.
- By 2030, Upper Austria will cover 100% of its space heat and electricity demand from renewable energy sources.
Three pillars of sustainable energy strategy in Upper Austria Region are:
- Legal measures
- Financial measures
- Information activities
The Oekoenergie-Cluster (OEC)
OEC is a network of renewable energy & energy efficiency companies in Upper Austria. The aim of this cluster is to foster innovation and competitiveness of green energy businesses and to contribute to a positive market trend in the field of sustainable energy production and use. There are about 150 partner companies. Main areas of co-operation are information and communication, training, co-operation and technology focus area, research and development, export, marketing and PR. Since 2000, managed by O.Oe. Energiesparverband. The main business fields are biomass heating, solar heating, and energy efficient buildings. Turnover of OEC is around 2.2 billion US $ with 4,500 employees and export share more than 50%.
The O.Ö. Energiesparverband – the Energy Agency of Upper Austria
This energy agency of Upper Austria was set up by the regional government in 1991. The O.Ö. Energiesparverband is a key institution for independent energy advice in Upper Austria.
The agency promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and innovative energy technologies.
Besides, this energy agency is in charge of implementing many programs and providing services to support the transition to a solar economy.
The main target groups are private households, municipalities and companies.
The O.Ö. Energiesparverband manages the Oekoenergie-Cluster (OEC / Eco Energy Cluster)
and cooperates with national as well as international energy institutions.
Energy Efficiency Program and Policy
Upper Austria wants to prove that energy efficiency creates a lot of job.
- Program to enhance the use of industrial waste heat.
- Energy concepts for municipalities (EGEM).
- Energy advice program for industry and trade.
- Energy advice program for households.
- Information campaigns for the efficient use of light in households and industry.
- Model projects of the public hand e.g. zero emission churches, kindergartens, schools, nursing homes, public municipal buildings, and music schools.
Electricity Efficiency Policy
The Upper Austria energy efficiency program “energy star 2010” comprises a set of measures for different target groups and sectors (totally is 11 clusters of measures) which are now being implemented. Presently the new energy efficiency measures are developed based on “3 pillars strategy” including:
- legal measures: regulations for the building sector were tightened, including cooling.
- financial measures: financial support programs providing stable support conditions over many years
- information measures: continuous information, training and awareness raising activities are required, for different target groups and including a set of instruments and tools to be able to reach the maximum of citizens.
Example of measures are energy advice for households, companies, and public bodies; campaign “minus 10%”; energy efficiency in buildings.
Upper Austria’s Solar Program
The regional government has adopted targets for solar thermal by 2030. A comprehensive action plan is being implemented, including solar obligations, active support measures for the growth of solar manufacturers in the region, financial support, quality measures, training programs etc. The action plan includes for example the following measures (Figure 2):
- public buildings: obligation for solar and other RES for heating and hot water (since 2002).
- all new buildings (participating in the regional housing program; covering > 90 %).
- apartment buildings (at least 2.5 m2/flat) and one family homes (4m2/home).
Financial support and quality requirements:
- Non-domestic installations (commercial buildings) up to 44 % of the investment costs.
- Obligatory heat meters for all subsidized solar installations.
- “Solar key-mark” requirement for subsidized solar installations (otherwise the subsidy is reduced by 25%).
Support to the growth of solar manufactures:
- Network of RES companies “Ökoenergie-Cluster”, providing support in marketing, training, export, product development etc.
- Regional R&D programme and solar research facility ASIC.
- Networking and co-operation with the building sector.
- Awareness raising initiative
- Info campaign for installers
- TPF promotion campaign
- Solar cooling initiative
Leading by example – solar installation in regional buildings:
- Solar thermal in most regional public buildings.
- The first commercial solar cooling installation in the region.
Transformation of the Austrian Biomass Heating Market
Biomass Innovation along the Value Chain
It is based on the tradition of sustainable forestry and a longer-term vision for the economic development of farmers. Innovations are in policy; R & D support and products; business development support; promotion, training and awareness raising.
Sustainable Energy Strategy – Biomass Heating
- Legal measures: renewable heating obligations; inspection of boilers & AC systems; energy performance certificates; minimum requirements heating & cooling.
- Financial measures: soft loans for efficient renovation; grants for renewable heating; pilot projects; contracting; regional R & D program.
- Information and training: energy advice; training & education program; campaigns & competitions, media activities; local energy action plans; publications; Oekoenergie-Cluster.
Training Programs along the Value Chain
- Target groups for training
- New professional education
- Trainings offered by O.Ö. Energiesparverband
Energy Future 2030
For future development, as part of the strategy process “Energy Future 2030”, 4 scenarios were developed which outline development of consumption, trends and potentials and the share of electricity from renewable energy sources (RES-e) can vary from 44% up to 126% (Figure 3). This depends both on the development of the electricity consumption by 2030 and on the utilization of RES-e potentials. The scenarios were based on the European “Action Plan for Energy Efficiency”, leading – in the best case – to minus 28% energy consumption by 2030 (220 PJ instead of 305 PJ).
Renewable Energy in Upper Austria Region
The gross energy consumption is about 300 PJ, renewable energy sources provide 32% of the primary energy consumption (Figure 4).
Renewable energy installations include:
- 1,000,000 m2 of thermal solar collectors
- 35,000 wood chip and pellet heating installations
- 270 biomass district heating networks
- 1,170 PV installations
- 30,000 heat pumps
- 23 wind mills
- 75 biogas plants
- 580 small hydro power plants
- 50 PJ from hydro power
- 12 new biomass power stations
The energetic use of biomass doubled over the last 20 years.
Presently there are about 35,000 modern biomass heating installations and 280 biomass district heating networks in operation (Figure 5). Biomass provides 14% of the total renewable energy production. The share of renewable heating is around 45%.
The most important ways to heat with biomass are:
- Automatic wood pellet heating systems, mostly in single-family homes.
- Automatic wood chip heating systems for homes, commercial and public buildings.
- Biomass district heating installations.
- District heating from biomass CHP plants.
- Wood stoves and automatic log wood boilers are also frequently used.
Example of biomass in municipalities of Upper Austria Region can be viewed in Figure 6.
Biomass power plant:
- Linz AG (Linz): 35 MW; investment ca. 30 million €; demand: ca. 300.000 m3 wood annually (efficiency 85%); in operation since January 2006 (Figure 7).
- Energie AG (Timelkam): 50 MW.
Biomass in modern combustion facilities:
Totally, there is around 1.78 million m
wood-products from forests, 1.59 million m
industrial by products (Figure 8).
Currently, there are more than 16,000 wood pellets central heating installation are in operation – most of them in homes, but increasingly also in larger commercial and public buildings. Pellet stoves are very popular in the thousand of low energy homes. Installed capacity of wood chips and pellets unit in Upper Austria and the target by 2010 can be viewed in Figure 9.
Pellet Heating System
The production capacity of pellets in 2005 is around 526,500 tons. Presently there are about 20 pellet producers, 15 of them have an annual production capacity more than 10,000 tons. The quality of pellets is regulated by the Austrian industrial standard ÖNORM M 7135. Some example of heat implementation in the community are:
- The community centre in St. Marienkirchen/Polsenz was constructed and officially opened in June 2005. Since autumn 2003, a surface of 2,600 m2 is heated by a 150 kW wood pellet boiler.
- The health hotel Aspach was opened in June 2004. In total, an area of approx. 3,000 m2 has to be heated. During the summer months the 500 kW pellet boiler (KÖB) is used for the hot water supply.
- The social welfare centre “Ariola” in Peilstein in the district Rohrbach exists since 2003. The heating load is 55 kW, the annual useful energy demand 83,000 kWh and a surface area of 1,000 m2 is heated by a pellet tandem plant with 2 x 30 kW.
Biogas plant „Pucking / OÖ (Figure 10) is the first biogas plant with grid-injection to the public natural gas grid.
- Energy source: 9,000 layer hen; 1,500 fattened hen; 50 pigs.
- Performance: 6 m3/h biogas = 400,000 kWh/year.
Solar energy plays a strategic role in renewable energy mix. Based on a history of positive experiences with quantitative solar targets which were achieved through comprehensive actions plans (Figure 11):
- Up to 2000, 300,000 m2 solar collectors were installed.
- In 2008, 93,000 m2 of solar thermal panels were installed in Upper Austria, in total the collector surface in Upper Austria amounts to more than 1 million m2, yielding an annual heat output of 335 million kWh and saving about 100,000 tons of CO2.
- In 2009, there were 900,000 m2 (630,000 kWth) thermal solar collectors installed (0.65 m2/inhabitant) and 7 solar manufacturers with a total production of over 400,000 m2/year.
- In 2009, the target for 2010 of 1,000,000 m2 by 2010 – equaling 0.7 m2/inhabitant was reached.
Some example of solar installation in single-family houses, apartment buildings, hotels and restaurants, business and industry, and public buildings can be viewed in Figure 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 respectively.
Upper Austria already passed an Energy Efficiency Strategy in 2004 aimed to increase energy efficiency by 1%, 1.5%/year in the public sector respectively until 2010. In 2007, the total primary energy consumption in Upper Austria did not increase although the growth rate of economy was above 3% which means an increase in efficiency by 3.45%. Following are some results of energy efficiency implementation for different target groups:
- within the campaign “Really bright”, more than 100,000 inefficient lamps were exchanged;
- > 1,000 households actively participated in the campaign “Minus 10%”;
- the energy performance indicator for heating in new one family homes decreased from 56 to 41 kWh/m2a (2008, sustainable buildings program).
Market for Renewable Sources
Measures to create a market for renewable sources are information, public grants, public model effects, a high oil price, and good developed companies.
The market development of biomass utilization is very encouraging.
More than 140 million US $ investment in new installations annually. It reduces energy bill for imported fossil fuels by more than 700 million US $ annually. It employs more than 5,000 people.
The pellet market development is supported by programs adapted to the changing needs of the market and ranging from training of installers to campaigns or consumer advice. Financial incentives are available to home owners and businesses willing to install a pellet boiler. European boiler producers have their head quarters in the region. A network of companies active in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources – the Oekoenergie-Cluster (OEC, www.oec.at) – which is managed by the O.Oe. Energiesparverband – supports companies in their business development.
Market share of renewable heating can be viewed in Figure 17.
Over the last few years, the production of solar collectors has grown into an important economic sector. Several of Europe‘s producers of solar collectors are located in Upper Austria. More than 10% of all solar collectors installed in Europe in 2007 were produced by Upper Austrian companies. In total, Upper Austria‘s solar thermal industry with about 500 employees produced more than 300,000 m2 of solar collectors in the year 2008. The export ratio of these companies amounts to over 70%, the total turnover is in excess of 100 million Euros/year. The producers of solar collectors work together in the Oekoenergie-Cluster. Measures to create a market for solar energy are:
- Demand side: awareness raising, energy advice service, financial support, legal measures, solar obligation, contracting.
- Supply side: Ökoenergie-Cluster, training activities, international co-operation, regional R&D program, regional research institute (Austria Solar Innovation Center).
- Electricity: feed in tariff system (federal); support schemes (regional)
- Heat: support schemes – district heating installation (federal); legislation on energy efficiency in buildings, support schemes (regional)
- Transport: mineral oil taxation (federal)
- Historical bridge in the use of wood
- Personal attitude to environment and energy crisis
- Innovative companies and farmers (camber of agriculture and forestry)
- Energy cluster for RES – Oekoenergie -Cluster
- Training programs, seminars, and conferences
- Financial support, legal, and regulatory measures
- Information and public awareness programs
- Energy policy framework
- International co-operation
- Research and demonstration programs
- A “policy package” consisting of legal (obligations and simplification of administrative procedures), financial and training/awareness instruments is the approach most likely to deliver solar targets.
- Linking the solar sector closely to the building industry and legislation is a key element.
- A constant observation of the market and a regular adjustment of policies is necessary.
- will only be successful as a part of a “policy package”, including other legal as well as financial and information/training/awareness instruments.
- straight-forward, clear requirements, as few exceptions as possible (as a means to reduce non-compliance).
- quality is the key.
- public awareness is key (to create an understanding that this is not another awful bureaucratic burden).
- information & training for suppliers and users are key.
- leading by example – public buildings!
The results achieved so far show that it is possible to decouple energy consumption and economic growth. However, increased efforts will be possible to achieve a persistent turn-around leading to a sustainable energy future.