Lower Austria to speed up renewables push

Lower Austria's governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner, deputy governor Stephan Pernkopf and EVN executive Franz Mittermayer. Image by NLK Burchhart (Source: www.noe.gv.at)

March 23 (Renewables Now) - The state of Lower Austria on Tuesday presented a strategy to accelerate the use of renewable energy as it seeks to reduce the dependence on Russia and invest more in diversification.

The Austrian state will reduce bureaucracy and speed up approval processes for projects in order to reach its goal to increase solar capacity tenfold and double its onshore wind capacity by 2030, governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner said on Tuesday.

Under the strategy, the lower limit of 200 kWp for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, above which it is required to obtain various permits and documents, will be raised in order to reduce bureaucracy and allow the more rapid implementation of projects. Additionally, more state employees and external experts will be included in the approval processes in order to achieve a further acceleration.

Lower Austria wants to speed the energy transition in order to produce more green energy and ensure the security of supply, said deputy governor Stephan Pernkopf. He called on the federal government to do the necessary to ensure faster environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures and limit the number of allowed objections to one per instance.

The state's strategy is supported by power company EVN Group AG (VIE:EVN) which is planning to invest EUR 400 million (USD 440.9m) this year in renewable energy and security of supply. In the next ten years, the investments will reach EUR 3.5 billion, said Mikl-Leitner. The group will seek to deploy more wind, solar, biomass and hydropower capacity and build more high and low-voltage lines as well as substations, said executive Franz Mittermayer.

(EUR 1 = USD 1.102)

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