|Coordination region: Upper Austria
The RES-e Regions project is coordinated by O.Ö. Energiesparverband, the regional energy agency of Upper Austria.
The Sustainable Energy Region of Upper Austria
Renewable energy sources have a high political priority in Upper Austria. More than 30% of its energy needs are covered by renewable energy sources. This successful development was triggered by the Upper Austrian energy strategy which sets concrete goals to be reached by 2010 and combines a clear political commitment and targets with the implementation of a detailed action plan. O.Ö. Energiesparverband, the regional energy agency of Upper Austria, is implementing most of the measures included in the action plan.
O.Ö. Energiesparverband was founded by the regional government in 1991 to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and innovative energy technologies. The agency provides services to private households, trade and industry, local, regional and national authorities, the European Commission, professional associations and public administrative bodies.
In addition to its leading position in biomass heating installations (15,000 modern biomass heating installations in operation) and in solar thermal collectors (626,000 solar thermal collectors, 454m² per 1,000 inhabitant installed), Upper Austria strongly promotes the production and use of green electricity. Support measures include a regional R&D programme for innovative energy technologies, targeted advice programmes for project developers, site visits and training activities.
These activities have lead to a number of innovative installations.
One of the most high-profile green electricity plants is the very first Austrian biomass tri-generation plant built in Ried/Upper Austria, supplying the company Fischer (skies and aeroplane components) with all its heating, cooling and electricity needs from biomass. The plant is the first one of this size using renewable energy sources for high-tech production. About 26,000 MWh heat, 1,000 MWh cooling and 2,500 MWh electricity are generated annually from wood. Not only the plant itself is innovative but also the financing was done in an innovative way by applying a third party financing scheme.
Another leading electricity plant is presently being built at a church in Linz. A photovoltaic installation with a capacity of 50 kWp is being mounted on the roof of a church. Again third party financing is used to cover the total investment costs of 340,000 .
In line with the European objectives to increase the share of green electricity, a new support programme for electricity from renewables has been launched recently. The new programme ÖKOP (eco-electricity programme) supports installations for electricity generation using photovoltaics, wind, biogas, biomass and the refurbishment of small hydro power plants. The financial subsidy is combined with advice offered by O.Ö. Energiesparverband for the installation of new plants as well as in case of renovation of plants. It is expected that the new programme, which is managed by O.Ö. Energiesparverband together with government authorities, will bring another boost for renewable energy to the region.
In 2002, Upper Austria's commitment and its successful activities towards a sustainable regional development were honoured by the European Commission when O.Ö. Energiesparverband received the Award for the best European renewable initiative (CTO-Award 2002, Grand Prize).