Three Austrian states recently took measures to bolster the expansion of green power, especially wind energy, as the Alpine country is seeking to reach 100% renewables in its electricity mix by the end of this decade.
The state of Lower Austria, located in the northeastern corner of the country, aims to double wind energy generation to 8 TWh annually by 2030 from currently 4 TWh and then reach 12 TWh by 2035.
The targets were presented by Lower Austria's governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner and other state officials on Tuesday.
The expansion will be achieved through adjustments to wind energy zones which is expected to allow the deployment of at least 100 turbines at existing wind parks.
The state will also designate new areas for wind power generation where 150 more machines will be installed.
In addition, the repowering of wind parks is estimated to have the potential to add a further 300 MW to 400 MW to the state's power generation capacity.
The revision of existing areas is considered a crucial measure. Without adjustments in this area, the expansion targets set in the Renewables Expansion Law (EAG) will not be achieved, according to Stefan Moidl, head of the Austrian wind energy association IG Windkraft.
About half of Austria's wind energy potential is concentrated in the state and it is largely untapped. Around 750 wind turbines are currently in operation in Lower Austria, generating 4 billion kWh annually. This is enough to supply 1.2 million households. In 2022, a further 35 turbines with an output of 137 MW are to be connected to the grid.
Moidl believes that with political support, the state could generate as much wind energy in a few years as it currently produces from natural gas.
In addition to wind power, solar energy should make a significant contribution to the green transition in the state. Photovoltaic (PV) systems across Lower Austria are expected to produce 3,000 GWh per year instead of the previous target of 2,000 GWh. There are already 70,000 solar plants in operation, which corresponds to a 22% increase compared to 2021.
Similar measures have been unveiled in Styria, Austria's second-largest state located in the southeast of the country. The local government aims to build 250 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 1,000 MW in the Alps by 2030. To reach this goal, the state will select new zones for wind energy and expand its administrative capabilities.
IG Windkraft welcomed the strategy but expressed hope that the target will be achieved well before 2030 with political support.
In Vorarlberg, the state government has commissioned a study of the wind energy potential. The core element of the analysis is the survey of the wind potential at different heights and an estimate of the possible number of wind turbines that could be installed. Initial results from the study are expected by mid-November 2022.
Anna is a DACH expert when it comes to covering business news and spotting trends. She has also built a deep understanding of Middle Eastern markets and has helped expand Renewables Now's reach into this hot region.