Austrian paper industry opposes construction of Klagenfurt biomass plant

(SeeNews) - Jun 12, 2013 - Austrian paper producers are opposing the construction of a biomass plant in the city of Klagenfurt, in the state of Carinthia, sector association Astro Papier said Tuesday.

Since 2005, thanks to the high state support, the use of wood for the production of electricity and heat has doubled, which forces paper producers to increasingly import the material, Astro Papier said.

According to Peter J. Oswald, CEO of paper company Mondi Europe & International, the imports of wood doubled in the last seven years, which raised the companies' raw material costs.

The local government in Klagenfurt plans to invest EUR 60 million (USD 79.7m) in a biomass plant, which according to earlier reports, will have a capacity of 70 MW. The plant is expected to help power the local district heating system.

Austrian paper industry is now demanding an amendment in the country's renewable energy act, which would put the focus of support on research and development activities. According to calculations made by Astro Papier, electricity consumers now pay EUR 180 million for the support of biomass energy sources per year, while biomass plants cover only 0.7% of the country's overall energy production.

(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.328)

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