Austria's Wien Energie to invest EUR 1bn in green energy push

A solar park in Austria. Image by Wien Energie GmbH.

May 10 (Renewables Now) - Austrian energy company Wien Energie GmbH is planning to invest about EUR 1 billion (USD 1.05bn) in solar, wind and geothermal power as well as large heat pumps in the next five years in an effort to ditch fossil fuels and exit gas.

Investments are the only way to get out of the crisis, said chief executive Michael Strebl. The investment plan will ensure long-term independence, stable prices and climate protection for the people in Vienna.

The investment strategy of the Vienna-based energy company for the period until 2027 is worth a total of EUR 1.29 billion. Nearly half of the budget, or EUR 625 million, will be spent on heating projects and about EUR 334 million will be poured into the expansion of green generation capacity.

A further EUR 90 million will be invested in each of climate-friendly cooling supply and security of supply while EUR 160 million is earmarked for digitalisation, electric mobility and telecommunications.

Solar energy in particular offers great expansion potential for the company which is exploring about 400 projects with a combined output of over 600 MW. These projects range from small rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems to 10-MW plants. About 20 projects are currently under construction, said Wien Energie's managing director Karl Gruber.

In the course of 2022, the power company plans to pass 100 MW of installed solar capacity and 200 MW of wind.

Last year, Wien Energie achieved a record-high green power generation, producing about 1,260 GWh from renewable energy. This corresponds to the consumption of 630,000 households in Vienna. Electricity from solar power soared nearly 150% to more than 77 GWh as the energy company built more than 60 solar plants and commissioned Austria's largest solar park of 11.45 MW in the spring of 2021.

Additionally, heat generation from renewable sources plays a key role in Wien Energie's decarbonisation strategy. About 23.6% of the district heating last year came from renewable energy and the share should reach 100% by 2040. Great hopes are being pinned on geothermal power, Gruber said.

In February, construction work began on a 55-MW heat pump which will run on hydropower and waste heat from a sewage treatment plant. By 2027, the heat pump's capacity will be expanded to 110 MW.

(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.056)

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